December is not the most active of months other than pinning down wintering raities. However other than the White-Fronted Goose this year even these have been few and far between. The Goose continues to wander about Badaan, still wary it is at least getting easier to photograph.
White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons
One surprise today were the Sand Martins and Swallow hawking over the fields, but are they early returnees or just late departing for warmer climes further south.
Sand Martin Riparia riparia
Swallow Hirundo rustica
The family group of Rosy Starings are also still around, as a species they are an irregular visitor often when occuring in large numbers, these have now been around since September.
Juvenile Rosy Starling Pastor roseus
We shall be stopping for our Christmas breaks soon and going against the migration by heading north so Seasons greetings to all our visitors
No real change in the species around however still plenty to see, on the shore I spent some time going around Sitra Island and the bays around Bapco Refinery and tank farm. One of the most impressive sights I came across were the tens of thousands of Slender-billed Gulls roosting south of the main Refinery.
The flocks did also contain many other gull species and a fair mix of terns.
Large numbers of migrant Caspian Tern were found, our local resident pairs are busy breeding at the moment.
Caspian Tern Sterna caspia
Great Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo
A surprising number of Tawny Pipits Anthus campestris were also found close to the shore
I had set myself the task to get some photographs of our local version of the Desert Lark Ammomanes deserti, the local subspecies being insularis. Often found in pairs they are extremly difficult to pick out amonst the rocks and boulders, that is unless they call or make a short flight. Sedentary the local subspecies can be reguarded as Bahrains only endemic.
Unlike the Desert Larks Wheatears are easily found the most common being Mourning and Desert, but are generally unlike the Desert Larks quite nervous, and do not allow such a close approach.
Mourning Wheatear Oenanthe lugens
Desert Wheatear Oenanthe deserti
With camping season upon us when Manama moves into the desert and takes its garbage with it food is plentiful however natural food is always availiable if one looks hard enough.
Never a problem to find and always willing to put on a show Domesticated Camels do provide plenty of entertainment.
The bird of the day for me had to be the Shell Duck Tadorna tadorna I encountered in the morning close to Ras Tubli. I have not personally seen one in Bahrain since 1997 when I had twelve at the same location.
Shell Duck Tadorna tadorna
I have presented here some of the more common species I encountered as I moved around Tubli Bay before driving to Badaan Farm to meet with Brendan and our ringing session.
Little Stint Calidris minuta
Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
Caspian Tern Sterna caspia
Great Northern Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
Curlew Numenius arquata
Dunlin Calidris alpina
Greenshank Tringa nebularia
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Western Reef Heron Egretta gularis
Slender-billed Gull Larus genei
At Badaan things were slow in the nets we did however manage one new ringing species that of Song Thrush, one of many now in the palm groves at the farm. When we arrived the workers were busy collected the freshly cut grass surrounded as usual by Cattle Egrets.
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Masked Shrike Lanius nubicus note the ring in the second picture
Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris
White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons Still hanging around the farm
Corn Bunting Emberiza calandra
A quiet day with few birds in the nets but over Badaan Farm a pair of Kestrels a single Pallid Harrier and Sparrow Hawk kept us entertained. Abdullah reported a Houbara Bustard at Budaiyah the night before and another this evening at Askar.
Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus
Grey Fancolin Francolinus pondicerianus
Indian Mongoose Herpestes javanicus or Herpestes auropunctatus
Black-winged Stilts Himantopus himantopus
other than some distant little Grebes the only birds seen on a brief stop at Dumistan pools
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