Spend much of the weekend looking for the Sooty Gull but with so many areas around Manama seafront to roost on I could not find it however I did take some pictures of the other stuff around. The weather is bad high winds today thunderstorms forecast dull with blowing sand which gets every where. The numerous Gull pictures I will put up later under "Gulls" I have to go through them to be certain of the ID.
Greater Sandplover - finally managed to get a decent flight picture
The same individual as above moments before in company with a Redshank
Lesser Crested Tern caught this one fishing at the same spot Graham saw the Sooty Gull - interestingly when they dive they disappear completely
Pairs of Kentish Plovers were a common sight - they will start to breed soon
Even managed to get a decent shot of a very common species here the Flamingo
Another Great Black-headed Gull my third this weekend
Western Reef Heron - dark morph yellow at both ends
the number of Curlew around seems to be increasing found them everywhere
Yesterday morning (26/2/09) at about 08:00, I saw a "dark" gull standing on open ground near the sea & next to the Novotel. Upon stopping to view it with bins, it was clearly a Sooty Gull.
I then photographed it at relatively close-range & it was apparent from the bill colour that it was an immature bird. There appear to be just 4 previous records for Bahrain (between 1969 & 2006). Although the earlier records are not specific regarding age, the photo captioned Sooty Gull in "Birds in Bahrain, Nightingale & Hill 1993" is also an immature bird with blue/grey bill & black tip, typical of a juvenile/immature. My bird had a similar bill colour, but with a hint of reddish at the tip, possibily indicating a sub-adult age.
Sooty Gulls are common in the southern Arabian Gulf & Arabian Seas. Perhaps younger birds are more likely to wander further up the Gulf as far as Bahrain. I have actively birded the upper Gulf coast of Saudi, especially al Khobar, directly opposite to Bahrain, for 13 years and have never encountered the species there, although it is very common on the Red Sea, at Jeddah for example.
I have attached a resized file of the gull & have the original in RAW.
Dr. Graham Lobley
After what has been a long week at work I decided to visit the small mud flats just north of Hidd desalination plant enclosed by a rock wall from the open sea. Although the tide was out at least it was coming in which in the fast fading light did bring a few birds closer to the dirt road that runs alongside the plant out to a small fishing jetty. Slender-bills and Caspian Terns plus hundreds of Waders and other birds make this a fairly good and representative mud flat site.
The sea was furthest in down near the jetty where a large flock of Slender-billed gulls stode in the shallows
Slender-billed Gull this one just beginning to glow pink
Amongst the large gulls off shore from the jetty over the open sea I spotted several Great Black-headed Gulls (Pallas's)sadly not close enough for a good shot.
Curlew - one of many which when seen are always close to the road until that is you try and close down the distance for a photo
One of the hardest species to photograph has to be the Grey Plovers they are constantly alert unless that is they are practicing for come dancing
The area is popular for many of the Heron and egret species we have this one caught me by surprise.
Marsh Sandpipers are common at this site I counted over twenty most were too distant to see well but this fellow was a little more obliging. Although the beak looks upturned like a Greenshank the beautifully marked plumage lead me to believe my own ID.
Ringed plover surprisingly the only one I saw today
Turnstone a common species along much of the shore
Redshank one of hundreds at this site
One of the more confiding species are the Greater Sand Plover - they prefer the drier parts of the lagoon so often can be found next to the road irrespective of the tide.
If confirmation is needed that this is greater take a look at the flight below
But of course no visit to the shore is complete without its cases of whats that and not certain -- in the later category the following two fall - Tentatively I would say probably the first is Greater while the second is most likely Lesser Sand Plover but I could be wrong on these
Fairly certain these next two are Lesser Sand Plover trying to disguise themselves as something else.
As the light faded I stopped at the new lagoon at the end of the Runway on my way home lots of birds but tightly packed and too distant to sort out without a scope. This was one of several flocks that roost at this site daily.
A strong shamal from the NE brought heavy haze and blowing sand for most of the week, it had died down come today but one consequence was a lack of migrants moving up. The best bird this week must be the Grasshopper warbler from Brendan's nets late last Saturday. Brendan and I today took a visiting Birder out (aged 92) and although we did not ourselves pick up anything exceptional Tom managed to get a good few "Lifers" in.
From the Desert we had Pied Mourning Red-tailed Isabelline and Desert wheatear plus several Blue Rock Thrush, sadly nothing was close enough for great pics but never the less I did take a few record shots
Blue Rock Thrush
Pied Wheatear the first seen for the season.
From the ditches around Adarri we had the usual but I did find a Black-crowned Night Heron hiding in an acacia tree and we found one of the wintering Squacco Heron by the main ditch.
Hamalah gave me distant views of the resident Sparrow Hawk and a further opportunity to close in on one of the numerous Siberian Stonechats plus a nice female Citrine Wagtail
Here are Brendan's pics of the two Pied Kingfishers that he and Abdullah saw see last week at Adharri
Went to the farm in the afternoon with Brendan and Abdullah who were ringing - not the busiest of afternoons we have had but the list of species seen was not that bad. Behind the Chicken processing plant in the mucky pools were Ruff, Black-winged Stilts, Temminck's Stint Snipe, Moorhen, Greenshank, Graceful Warblers, Bluethroats and Crested Larks. On the fields large flocks of Skylarks, Meadow, Water Pipit and Corn Bunting buzzed around the place. Namaqua Doves were well scattered around the srubier parts with Stonechats and Isabelline Shrikes prominent on the sprinklers. Cattle Egrets, Spanish and House Sparrows lined the animal sheds with the odd Bulbul or two while the usual large number of Collared and Palm doves festooned every available wire. Above Swallows Pallid Swifts and a few Sand Martins hawked insects constantly. Two Hoopoe, a Cuckoo, Two Egyptian Nightjar, a Chiffchaff and a hunting Sparrow Hawk made up the days list.
This one we think was ringed at Badaan Farm have most of the number now and checking records
Went looking for the Pied Kingfishers in the Adharri area without success these last two afternoons. Found a Purple Heron and the Squacco again but otherwise nothing else really unexpected.The ditches were today fairly quite didn't even see the thrushes in the surrounding gardens.
Stonechat - female
A distant male watching the motorway traffic
Western Reef Heron - starting to show breeding plumes
Graceful Warbler - Doing what a prinia always does
Black-crowned Night Heron - a juvenile bird
Gull-billed Tern - hawking the main ditch
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