The number of birds and species passing at Badaan Farm has slowed to a crawl - a few surprises in what's been turning up but nothing really exceptional. Collared Pratincoles, Yellow Wagtails, Winchats, Ortolan Buntings, Willow and Reed Warblers and the odd Red-throated Pipit and Nightingale all put in a show. The only Shrike seen today was an Isabelline who kept company with a few swallows and Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters. Gone are the Kestrels but hanging on are a Great White Egret, Little Egret and a Purple Heron keeping company with the Night and Western Reef Herons. Also seen today a Little Bittern will be interesting to see how long he stays. Western Reef, Little Bittern and Night Herons all breed locally. Kentish Plover chicks can been seen everywhere along with Grey Francolins, while Olivaceous Warblers and Rufous Bush Robins (chats) are busy nesting. White Cheeked Bulbuls and Graceful Prinia are well advanced while Crested Larks have already produced a first brood. A larger than usual number of Cattle Egrets have stayed on and could well breed again this year.
Pictures of some of the species ringed today can be found under Projects see tab at the top or right of the page.
Just an update on whats been happening Here-
May 1st - A Stonecurlew with 2 chicks was observed between Al Jazair beach and the horse endurance center. This represents a first breeding record for this species if confirmed. Observer a Falconer caught and examined one of the chicks before returning it to waiting parent.
May 7th - A Corncrake was reported at Anwaj Islands - this observation has some quality as the observer not a birder is familiar with the species in Ireland - last record 1991
May 8th - Willow Warblers have now turned up - we ringed the last one of last year on the 24 of April - we ringed our first one this year only today. Swallows and SandMartins passing in large numbers today as are Willow Reed and Great Reed Warblers.
May 6th - A pair of Grey Hypocolius were on sale at Isa Town Market - before the birds could be recovered the seller had disappeared. Isa Town is the other side of the Island to the known roosts this might indicate an unknown roosting areas for the species.
We did some ringing this afternoon so this meant that time for actual birding was minimal however of the birds around, the ones of note were the Blue-cheeked and European Bea-eaters Swallows and Swifts that continue to pass through. The Purple Heron all four remain, the Yellow Wagtails and Ortolan Buntings a stream that never seems to end and the dozens of warblers of various species now found throughout the farm. Another Scops owl was seen along with numerous Nightingales and Pratincoles. The lesser Kestrels seem to have made the farm their home five sometimes six are now regulars hunting over the crop circles. Kentish Plover Chicks are popping out all over the place and Graceful Prinia, Grey Francolin, Bulbuls, Sparrows, Doves, Rufous Bush Chats and Olivaceous Warblers are all in various stages of breeding as well.
Overcast and windy but still with a heavy haze from the dust - lingering on.
Spent some time down on Tubli Bay in the morning to see what was around - still plenty of waders but tern numbers collecting prior to breeding are increasing daily - Lesser Crested, Saunder's, White-cheeked and the odd Gull-billed - these together with good numbers of Caspian Terns (winter breeding) and Slender-billed Gulls now out number wading species. A few hundred Flamingos for which we have no breeding records remain complemented by large numbers of Western Reef Herons - many no doubt themselves breeding around the bay or due to depart to Hawar and the main breeding areas there.
Western Reef Heron
Later in the day I went to Badaan Farm - the light was again poor - Kevin came later but didn't stay long as a consequence. A good number of larger warblers were observed including Great Reed, Barred and Garden. Olivaceous continue to sing out from most of the denser corners a declaration of breeding territory, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Willow and Reed plus a few unidentified as usual made an impressive list. The breeding Rufous Bush Robins (chats)and Kentish Plover are encountered now regularly around the farm - Pratincoles, Nightingales, Orioles, as are still a few Red-throated and Tawny Pipits with Ortolan Buntings. A few waders add further interest, Wood Sandpiper, Ruff, Curlews, Little Stint and Turnstones most moving into breeding plumage. Purple, Great White, Night and Grey Heron along with some Reef Herons and the odd Kingfisher are now benefiting from the recently cut drainage ditches which are alive with fish. On the wires Swallows, a roller, a variety of Shrikes plenty of Lesser Kestrels with a few Bee-eaters all add to the interest, this is of course without the farms resident birds.
Yellow Wagtail - a few more on the fields today but nothing like the number we have had the last few weeks. Not certain of this one think its a female either flava or beema
Kentish Plover - a local breeding species
Kentish chick - the first observed this year - much later than last.
Red-backed Shrike - A 1st winter/juvenile bird
Willow Warbler Seen just as the sun was nearly set
Horrible weather yet again no wind but sand drifting down covering everything with a fine powder including the camera which I now have to get cleaned. Not a single Yellow wagtail remains but four Lesser Kestrel are still hunting the fields. Lesser, Masked, Isabelline Red-backed and Grey Shrike are now faily common. Spotted Flycatchers the odd Wheatear Roller and Bee-eater along with a variety of Warblers continue to be seen along with both Thrush Nightingale and Nightingales. A few Ortolans and a solitary Red-throated Pipit were also seen as four Purple Herons and a Great White Egret patrolled the ditches.
Great White Egret
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