I spent ten days down on Hawar showing a film crew around - although we saw and filmed a lot of birds - opportunities to get close enough for personal photography where limited - bad weather, wind dust storms then thundery rain didn't help matters either
Sun-rise over Hazwarah
Desert Hyacinth the only flash of colour seen
Close encounters with many of the Osprey breeding on Hawar were a regular occurrence - all young had fledged but many were still around the nests as family groups.
Hoopoe Lark one of many seen - this one in the first rays of morning light - during the day displaying males undertaking their beautiful courting ritual through song and display flight were for me the highlight of the trip
The Reef Herons breeding season is on Hawar well under way - a large number of newly built or nests under-construction were observed - a few with eggs like this one
In contrast the Socotra Cormorant season was virtually complete with only a few late developing juvenile birds left at the breeding site. I had assumed they would be a bit skittish however we found the opposite with many just walking straight past us as if we didn't exist.
Friday for Brendan and I was spent down south while AJ covered the Chicken farm all of us had the bird of the day Bimaculated Lark. AJ managed a good shot while I had to be content with very distant views. But for both Brendan and AJ they were a personal first.This was our first observation of this species since 1997. While AJ had Pale Rock Sparrows we had to make do with a very nice female Black Redstart.
Otherwise a weekend of Woodchat and Isabelline Shrikes and Isabelline and Pied Wheatear although Great Grey Shrike, Rock Thrush, Nightingale, White-throated Robin and a few warblers were seen it remained generally quiet after the weeks sandstorm.
A rather distant Bimaculated Lark one of two seen Al Jazair
Isabelline Wheatear - they were everywhere this weekend
Pied Wheatear - Like the Isabelline they were everywhere
Isabelline Shrike - the most numerous of the shrikes - seen near and far
Female House Sparrow - just one of millions here
Today Brendan and I went down to the new ringing station south of Al Jazair beach on the way down I found a few birds perched on a road side fence within distance to get a reasonable photo - both species were ringed so for pictures of these species in the hand follow the link to ringing
a different view
Pied Wheatear - the site also includes some good desert scrub good
Its colder than usual but still in the middle twenties - a lot of wind about with the month having started with the tail of a sandstorm. A day of rain showers has cleared the air now and the dust has settled for now. Things are starting to move through quickly this week its the turn of the Wheatears with Pied most noticeable, Red-backed and Woodchat Shrike along with Rock Thrush and Hoopoe are now prominent. Flocks of Lesser Short-toed larks can often be found in the semi desrt areas with Chiffchaff and Lesser Whitethroat plentiful in the trees. A few Stone Curlews and Black Crowned Finch Larks have also been reported this week as well. The odd Redstart has now joined the wintering Stonechats on many farm land perches. A solitary Black Kite and Lesser Kestrel were seen to pass my office window this week disturbing only the hawking Pallid Swifts. In all things are looking good.
Rock Thrush - one of many seen this last weekend around the Jebel
Hoopoe - sadly photographed through a chain link fence but to nice effect
Pied Wheatear both male and Female could be found at every turn in the desert.
The Fauna of Arabia 2006
Small Birds of Prey and Owls
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