The highlight of the weekend had to be the Little Green Bee-eater (3rd record) observed and the female Chaffinch (7th record) ringed, both on Saturday at Badaan Farm. The weather was dull and overcast with occasional light drizzle which raised a few puddles around the place with the wind fairly strong at times from the NW. I alone saw the bee-eater the first record since several were seen on the Islands of Hawar in 2000. I have seen many in the UAE and Oman previously where they are a local breeding species. After the initial sighting the bird hawked insects out in the center of one of the crop circles before disappearing south unlike the other Blue-cheeked and European Bee-eaters that sit on the electrical wires and hawk insects almost around your head.
The Chaffinch was a big surprise caught late in the afternoon on Saturday it was the only bird trapped during a remarkably dull session in the afternoon. Flush out of undergrowth while checking the nets I initially could only seen the greenish rump and was surprised when I had the bird in the hand to find it a Chaffinch, our first this century. Needless to say Brendan was even more surprised as it was both a ringing and country first for him.
Chaffinch - Female
Otherwise it was generally a quiet weekend.
Bee-eater - this time it was the turn of the European Bee-eaters to sit out on the road
Isabelline Shrikes are now a very common sight
A Kestrel takes a break from hunting
The number of Lapwing around Badaan has grown to six
Desert Wheatear have moved in for the winter
Tawny Pipit another wintering species
Indian Silver Bills looking bored
A Hoopoe shelters from the wind and rain
Flamingoes at Ras Tubli
Black-winged Stilt caught at sunset
Spent some time looking at birds along the beach front nearest to my house yesterday, the area alongside the Grand Mosque near the Gulf Hotel. A good number and mix of distant and unapproachable waders with the odd Heron, cormorant, gull and tern were seen.
I did not take many pictures as the light was fading fast.
Greenshank and Curlew
Dark morph Western Reef Heron
Kentish Plover one of the more numerous species
A pleasant return to Badaan today after a birdless trip around the Far East - Where have all the town birds gone in China one has to ask.
Both European and Blue-cheeked Bee-eater were around in good numbers but only the Blue-cheeked sat around on the ground begging to be photographed.
This Squacco Heron has been around for a fews weeks
Stonechats seem to be every where
Over a dozen Isabelline Shrikes are scattered around the farm each with their preferred perch and territory add a few Lesser and the odd Great Grey - the farm looks more like Shrike city.
Geat Grey Shrike
Always one or two Snipe around the ditches - but missed a Jack Snipe which took me by surprise.
Our resident Little Egret
Indian Mongoose I love them but Brendan barely tolerates them - they stalk his nets looking for an easy dinner.
Short-eared Owl - this one proved easy to capture and ring later in the morning
Desert Wheatear a change from the more numerous Isabelline that are around
Part of the flock of thirty plus Starling around the farm this weekend
Corn Bunting - one of many seen but never in a good position for a nice photo
Common Sandpiper this one was ringed several weeks back while I was away
Several Bluethroat were seen but always at a distance - as the winter goes on they will become more confiding I am sure
Brendan Kavanagh with his two visiting bird ringers, Declan and Patrick spotted four black storks yesterday 31st October. The birds were very timid and took off on a thermal. Declan ID'd the birds.
(Look what you're missing Howard.)
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