Archives for: 2009

2009-12-22

Away for Christmas and New Year

Permalink 11:52:46, Categories: Admin - Howard King  

Nodolig Llawen - Happy Christmas and prosperous yet peaceful New Year

Back in early January

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2009-12-01

Long Eid Holiday

Permalink 16:59:49, Categories: Observation by Howard  

Visited quite a few places since returning from Hawar - not a lot of species were noted and even less photographed, but still I enjoyed the time off.

In the early morning light a shrike considers where to find breakfast
Isabelline Shrike

Early morning is also a good time to catch Skylarks having a sand bath
Skylark

with quite a variety of ssp Stonechats are increasing in numbers
Stonechat

Stonechat

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater a few still passing - they probably don't go as far as European Bee-eaters
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater

White Wagtail are everywhere you look
White Wagtail

Cattle Egret - now a common species
Cattle Egret

Indian Silver-bills
Indian Silver-bills

Isabelline Shrike beginning to mature
Isabelline Shrike

Red-throated Pipit
Red-throated Pipit

Isabelline Wheatear
Isabelline Wheatear

Desert Wheatear
Desert Wheatear

Desert Warbler its yellow eye and rufous tail should ensure it is not confused with the common Graceful below
Desert Warbler

Graceful Warbler
Graceful Warbler

Around the ditches and wet patches
Green Sandpiper
Green Sandpiper

Green and Wood Sandpiper
Green and Wood Sandpiper

Common Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper

Redshank
Redshank

little Egret
little Egret

A mixed flock of sparrows and silver bills take flight followed by the next character

Sparrow Hawk - going flat out coming down the track he missed them all and sailed on by mores the pity cause by then I was ready for a decent photo
Sparrow Hawk

Red Bishops found near Adhari fast becoming an escape haven
Red Bishop

Red Bishop

No outing would be complete without checking the shore but with the tide way out I could only get a few closeup shots.

Grey Plover
Grey Plover

Lesser Crested Tern
Lesser Crested Tern

Lesser Crested Tern

Saunder's Tern
Saunder's Tern

Slender-billed Gulls
Slender-billed Gulls

Western Reef Heron
Western Reef Heron

Turnstone
Turnstone

Ringed Plover
Ringed Plover

Curlew
Curlew

Lesser Sand Plover
Lesser Sand Plover

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2009-11-28

Hawar - a visit to the Socotra Cormorant colony

Permalink 10:52:16, Categories: Observation by Howard  

Only a quick afternoon and a full morning visit to the Cormorants was possible - time and money being the deciding factor. The new management at the Hawar Hotel (Golden Tulip) have decided to go up market and have moved into the realms of fairy land in working out their prices. Seems they want those that visit to cover the running costs for down time at the hotel - these are the long periods with no visitors - which will be if they haven't worked it out yet, outside the summer and public holidays most days of every week. Besides this dinner is not included in the room price so at 11BD for a limited buffet 1.200 for a 100 fil can of coke and a Gin and tonic requiring a bank loan I for one will not be spending much time there unless someone else is paying the bill. The current standard of service which needs some heavy ironing out does not warrant such tariffs. I shall be investing in a tent....

Anyhow back to the birds and the reason for the visit - to film and document for a new interactive display the cormorants breeding on Suwad Al Janubiyah


Socotra Cormorant
Socotra Cormorant

The Socotra Cormorant Colony on Hawar is thought to be the largest in the world for this species. In Bahrain the Socotra Cormorant is fully protected unlike other Gulf States were it is persecuted and although occasionally eggs thieves do raid the colony the number of breeding birds remains fairly constant at around 25000 to 30000 pairs. It is impossible after the majority of chicks have become mobile to calculate numbers. At this stage of the colonies annual development, most of the adults are out fishing during the day leaving the chicks to form a dense massed creche defined on the periphery by small clusters of later laying birds sitting on nests.

a look at just a few small corners of the colony
Colony

Colony

one of the numerous small groups of currently nesting birds
On the nest

on the nest

The nature of the colony is constantly changing as adults return to feed their chicks - how they find them I have no idea, chicks move constantly. Noise levels increase dramatically however as wave after wave of returning adults fly in. There is no pattern to these return timings they are totally dependent on how far and how successful a hunt for food has been. Once fed most adults disappear for a second forage so there is however a distinct morning peak and a late afternoon for these returns.

The return
Return fishing parties

return

return

return

Waiting patiently for food chicks stand or lay around around waiting often for many hours at a time.

Socotra Cormorant Chick

Socotra Cormorant Chick

Socotra Cormorant Chick

Socotra Cormorant Chick

Socotra Cormorant Chick

Socotra Cormorant Chick

Landings can be a close run things any space will do
Socotra Cormorant Chick

Take offs are usually better planed from an open space
Socotra Cormorant Chick

Once found the chicks pursue the parent on a chase often away from hordes before being given food.

Socotra Cormorant Chick

Socotra Cormorant Chick

Note the chick being fed in the background
Socotra Cormorant Chick

often a chick will beg from any adult
Socotra Cormorant Chick

However for chicks still too small to be left they have to wait for a change over of parents.

Socotra Cormorant Chick

Socotra Cormorant Chick

For the cormorants the only threat come from the large flock of Gulls that congregate to eat anything they can get their beaks on - whatever the activity gulls are not far away

predators

adjacent to Suwad this area provides a convenient bathing area for departing birds - they always bathe every time they leave land and always before flying off to fish.

bathing area

watching but not phased at all by the action flamingos wade the shallows close by

flamingo

HD AND PETER the men on the film camera
HD AND PETER the men on camera

During my next visit to the cormorants I will also count the breeding Osprey
two on a nest
Osprey

a pair yet to lay

Osprey

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2009-11-26

On Hawar with the cormorants

Permalink 07:16:19 am, Categories: Observation by Howard  

Socotra Cormorants

More pictures on my return

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2009-11-13

a pleasant day with an old friend

Permalink 06:06:49 pm, Categories: Observation by Howard  

Iwan Roberts came over from Saudi complete with cello in hand (why you can ask him) so with a low tide at the moment we started at Adhari and moved on to the Chicken farm -
From Adhari - this Bluethroat was perched on a fence post no sooner than I had him in the viewfinder he did this - but luckily he popped back up when I was ready.
Bluethroat

Bluethroat

Graceful Prinia always around but never still so I tried my luck with a few shots as this fellow moved through the vegatation
Graceful Prinia

Graceful Prinia

the aptly named Common Mynah
Mynah

From Dumistan and the chick farm
Snipe and Temmick's Stint
Snipe and Temmick's Stint

3 of the 4 Glossy Ibis in take off mode
Glossy IbisGlossy Ibis

Water Pipit winter numbers are building
Water Pipit

a young White Wagtail
White Wagtail

A distant hiding Lapwing
Lapwing

One day I will find one not directly in front of the sun - a Citrine Wagtail
Citrine Wagtail

Our resident Isabelline Shrikes
Isabelline Shrike

Isabelline Shrike

and a flash of colour to complete the days take Plain Tiger Danaus chrysippus
Plain Tiger

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2009-11-07

Permalink 17:37:34, Categories: Observation by Howard, Admin - Howard King  

We have a visiting group from Birdquest lead by Mike Watson with us this weekend and as expected Hypocolius was the main target species but with no sightings these year at all where to send them. As good luck favours the brave it was suggested they check out the last know location from last year in Barber but in the morning at first light - well fortune smiled and a healthy number of birds were found.
location 26°13'46.85"N 50°28'14.89"E
Hypocolius
Hypocolius

more details will follow as we intend to return this afternoon to see if the birds are using the area as a roost Well we returned this afternoon and I spent from 3-15 to 5-00 when it get dark watching the area no birds. So it would appear that this is no more than a feeding station but given the early hour the birds where seen it can not be that far from a roost.

When driving back along a busy Budaiya Highway close to Magaba fire station I was surprised to see a lone Hypocolius fly out of a palm in the middle of the road. Given that it was almost dark a roost must also still exist in this area as well - the search will continue!!!!

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2009-11-06

Looking for Kingfishers

Permalink 18:31:21, Categories: Observation by Howard  

Started the morning at Adhari and its ditches - the Squacco Herons were about bright and early, looking quite elegant in the morning light
A rather punk looking poser
Squacco Heron

A juvenile Night Heron -
Night Heron

the heron was not the only bird in the tree just below it I spied a Grey Francolin - an odd place to find one
Francolin

Normally shy found this Moorhen wandering around in the open I was quicker than him and got my first good closeup image
Moorhen

normally the haunt of egrets today was the turn of the Western Reef Heron to patrol the ditches
Western Reef Heron

Having seen a Kingfisher here at Adhari last weekend I found three this time but with all the trees removed from the ditches there is little cover and they could see me coming from miles away - all I could get was one rather quickly taken snapshot from a distance of two on the ground in the early morning light
Kingfisher

After Adhari I decided to join Adrian at the Chicken farm but not a lot around

Stonechat
Stonechat

Water Pipit
Water Pipit

White Wagtail
White Wagtail

two of our regular Isabelline Shrikes
Isabelline Shrike

Isabelline Shrike

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2009-11-02

A great birding weekend

Permalink 22:20:19, Categories: Observation by Howard  

I decided to spend Saturday morning looking for the Sociable Plover but alas failed to find it although Abdullah did see one at A'Ali farm so maybe this was where it had moved to. But I was not totally disappointed as I saw a lot of birds and I have seen these Plovers before.

Swallow - was rather pleased with these shots
Swallow

Swallow

Marsh Harrier - the same one and not always easy to find
Marsh Harrier

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater - so many this year as well they just keep coming
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater

Bluethroat my first of the season
Bluethroat

Tawny Pipit
Tawny Pipit

Pin-tailed whydah
Pin-tailed Whydah

After the farms I tried moving to Hidd and Busaiteen for the incoming tide - but the light fails quickly now with it dark by 5pm so had to leave before high water.

Lesser Crested Tern
Lesser Crested Tern

Terek sandpiper
Terek sandpiper

Water Pipit an unusual visitor on the mud
Water Pipit

Caspian Terns
Caspian Tern

Curlew Sandpiper
Curlew Sandpiper

Lesser Sand Plover
Lesser Sand Plover

Marsh Sandpiper
Marsh Sandpiper

Western Reef Heron
Western Reef Heron

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2009-11-01

Cattle Egrets gallore and a sociable plover

Permalink 10:55:47 pm, Categories: Reported Observations, Admin - Howard King  

I counted over 200 cattle egrets at Ali Farm this weekend. It is the largest number I have seen at one time in Bahrain and seems to be an influx for the winter.


This one was having his feathers ruffled!

cattle

cattle3

cattle2

The sociable plover was a first for me in Bahrain. Thanks Adrian!

sociable

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2009-10-30

Bee-eater day and a Sociable Plover

Permalink 17:36:27, Categories: Admin - Howard King  

The news of the day has to be that of a Sociable Plover seen at the Hamalah Experimental Farm by Adrian Drummond-Hill this afternoon. Having been there most of the morning I am a bit peed off with his good fortune.

Pics from the chicken farm end of Hamalah
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater today saw a hugh passage of this colourful migrant
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater

Redshank
Redshank

Indian Silver-bill
Indian Silver-bill

Marsh Harrier a clipped shot taken from a distance -
Marsh Harrier

But for me the Kingfisher seen at Adhari first thing this morning plus the six Squacco Herons along with a Cut-throat (photo under Wildlife)remain the best birds I saw today

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2009-10-28

W/E 23 Oct - 24 Oct

Permalink 22:00:20, Categories: Observation by Howard  

I got a bit delayed in putting last weekends images up so - over the two days actually only went to two places Busaiteen on Friday morning and Buri on the Saturday. To bore those that don't like waders first up are some of the species seen at Busaiteen Maharraq, which include a few interesting Wheatears images.

Kentish Plover - a well marked individual totally unlike the resident washed out birds we normally see at this time of the year.
Kentish Plover

Greater Sand Plover - now in full winter Plumage and included here cause I like em
Greater Sand Plover

Greater Sand Plover

Greater Sand Plover

Greater Sand Plover

Greater Sand Plover

Lesser Sand Plover
Lesser Sand Plover

Lesser Sand Plover

Lesser Sand Plover

Curlew
Curlew

Curlew

Dunlin - just a few feathers left to moult out
Dunlin

Ringed Plover - a common species now with as many on the shore as on the farms
Ringed Plover

some record shots of some of the terns seen here White-cheeked - about to leave to warmer climes
White-cheeked Tern

Sandwich Tern - my first of the season with Slender-billed in the foreground
Sandwich Tern

Gull-billed Tern
Gull-billed Tern

Gull-billed Tern

Pied Wheatear - me thinks because cant see what else they can be - I have included some of the fuzzier shots to show tail and under wing
Pied Wheatear

Pied Wheatear

Pied Wheatear

Pied Wheatear

Pied Wheatear

Pied Wheatear

Pied Wheatear

Isabelline Wheatear
Isabelline Wheatear

Isabelline Wheatear

Saturday a change of venue - Buri in an area largely used to currently farm Ocra

Ocra
Ocra

Stonechat here a European visitor
Stonechat

Northern Wheatear
Northern Wheatear

Northern Wheatear

Northern Wheatear

Desert Wheatear
Desert Wheatear

Hoopoe
Hoopoe

Tawny Pipit
Tawny Pipit

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2009-10-24

Still plenty of Bee-eaters

Permalink 01:21:06 pm, Categories: Reported Observations  

Most birds produce pellets to get rid of undigested material in their diet. This bee-eater was caught in the act.


bee
He seems happier without it!

b

Isabelline Wheatear

isa

Pallid Harrier

pall

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2009-10-23

Birds still coming through - BK

Permalink 02:11:34 pm, Categories: Reported Observations  

Bee-eaters are plentiful today. Snipe are building up and the odd roller can still be found. The wheatears are starting to thin out in the past few days.

Almost missed this!


bee-eater

Attention!!!!!!!!!!!!
snipe

European roller
roller

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2009-10-20

A funny weekend

Permalink 21:49:34, Categories: Observation by Howard  

A lot around this week-end but boy did it cause some problems for ID. The major problem were the Wheatears so many in fact along a single excavated drain in the chicken farm that they were impossible to pin down, made worse by the fact that many were the female/1cy winter type. They would disappear from view and re-emerge on another mound of dirt or sprinkler further along the track only to be replaced by another look alike on the pile one was watching. I hate basing ID for Wheatears on a single feature and often the back view provides at a single glance most clues especially if the bird is seen to fly. Fly they did but always then out of view and when making themselves available for a nice photo they would be face on. Tying faces to backsides was nigh on impossible so I like Adrian who followed me on Friday afternoon, ended up with a lot of maybe's and the odd what the hell is this.

But first the pics of species I am sure about.

Ortolan Bunting
Ortolan Bunting

Stonechat my first of the season
Stonechat

In the sump a Snipe - an odd looking white faced fellow
Snipe

Six Glossy Ibis circle the site before dropping into the sewage sump
Glossy Ibis

Isabelline shrike - a selection from the many birds around
Isabelline shrike

Isabelline shrike

Isabelline shrike

Isabelline shrike

Red-backed Shrike - two individuals seen
Red-backed Shrike

Red-backed Shrike

Red-backed Shrike

Red-backed Shrike

Namaqua Dove - I remember the first few seen in the early 90's
Namaqua Dove

Citrine Wagtail
Citrine Wagtail

Swallows
Swallows

Southern Grey Shrike
Southern Grey Shrike

Southern Grey Shrike

Southern Grey Shrike

Now the Wheatears
Most likely this is a Black-eared
Black-eared

Black-eared

Most likely this is a Isabelline
Isabelline

Don't know

This I am not in any way certain about - rear could be Isabelline but a very short tail in comparison to others and the bill boy that's a big one and with that facial I am not sure thought about a Finches for this one, just a thought but don't know.
Don't know

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2009-10-19

Birds of Prey - BK

Permalink 10:55:20 pm, Categories: Reported Observations  

I happened to be in the right place at the right time this weekend. This Osprey and a Hobby were very obliging.

Osprey

Osprey


Hobby

Hobby

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2009-10-03

October 3rd -

Permalink 16:55:47, Categories: Observation by Howard  

Again a short weekend had to complete some work in the office
First my favourite shot of the day

Caspian Tern
Caspian Tern

Pied Wheatear
Pied Wheatear

Pied Wheatear

Isabelline Wheatear
Isabelline Wheatear

Short-toed Lark
Short-toed Lark

Whimbrel
Whimbrel

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2009-09-26

short had to work weekend

Permalink 15:12:08, Categories: Observation by Howard  

Only managed a few hours at the chicken farm this last weekend lots of birds, mostly distant but enjoyed just the same

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater

Spotted Flycatcher
Spotted Flycatcher

Some of the many seen
Isabelline Shrike
Isabelline Shrike

Isabelline Shrike

Glossy Ibis
Glossy Ibis

The Harries that have been around a week now were seen from across the site two distant record shots - much cropped
Marsh Harrier
Marsh Harrier

Pallid Harrier
Pallid Harrier

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2009-09-22

Busaiteen

Permalink 07:42:32, Categories: Observation by Howard  

the last day of the Eid Holiday - I spent most of my time crawling around the coastline of Busaiteen - lots of Wheatears and Waders Terns and Gulls plus the Hoopoe.

Hoopoe

Hoopoe

Not looking quite so elegant were the Grey Plovers
Grey Plover

Grey Plover

Slender-billed Gull
Slender-billed Gull

A selection of Wheatear pics - some just to aid ID

Pied Wheatear
Pied Wheatear

Pied Wheatear

Pied Wheatear

Pied Wheatear

Pied Wheatear

The Most common Wheatears this week end were the Northern Wheatear
Nothern Wheatear

Nothern Wheatear

Nothern Wheatear

Nothern Wheatear

Nothern Wheatear

Nothern Wheatear

Nothern Wheatear

Isabelline Wheatear
Isabelline Wheatear

Isabelline Wheatear

Isabelline Wheatear

Isabelline Wheatear

Back to the waders and continuing with Sand plovers
First see how they run
Greater Sand Plover

Lesser Sand Plover

Kentish Plover

Lesser Sand Plovers in flight and chasing each other note faded neck rings

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2009-09-21

The Eid Holiday - so far

Permalink 09:55:05, Categories: Observation by Howard  

Eid Mubarak one and all - Great to have a whole five day holiday so

Hard to know where to start - the weather so far has been at varying times calm hot humid and windy from the south -

Around Adhari
First an escape and quite nice masked intruder Red-billed Quelea
Red-billed Quelea

European Bee-eater
Bee-eater

Masked Shrike
Masked Shrike

Cattle Egret
Cattle Egret

Red-vented Bulbul
Red-vented Bulbul

Missed were a Kingfisher and Pied Wheatear...

Collared Dove
Collared Dove

Moorhen
Moorhen

Palm Dove
Palm Dove

Around the Hamalah experimental farm and waste area behind the chicken shed

Roller
Roller

Roller

Missed was a Golden Oriole

One problem with Hamalah is too many distant perches
Grey Shrike
Grey Shrike

Isabelline Shrike
Isabelline Shrike

Woodchat Shrike
Woodchat Shrike

plenty on the ground though and wires
Namaqua Doves
Namaqua Doves

Namaqua Doves

Namaqua Doves

and hundreds of Short-toed Lark
Short-toed Lark

Swallow
Swallow

Swallow

Easy to find

Isabelline Wheatear
Isabelline Wheatear

Crested Lark
Crested Lark

At the outfall pond behind the chicken plant - well covered by both AJDH and Brendan as well this week end -some of the better shots I took

Ruff
Ruff with Reeve

Black-winged Stilt
Black-winged Stilt

Black-winged Stilt

Shorelines have been pretty busy as Terns start to congregate and take on winter plumage. Wader numbers and variety begins to build as do Gull numbers although Slender-billed remain the most numerous. Wheatears and larks can also be found close to the shore

Short-toed Larks
Short-toed Larks

Isabelline Wheatear
Isabelline Wheatear

Northern Wheatear
Northern Wheatear

on the shore
on the shore

Dunlin
Dunlin

Greater Sand Plover
Greater Sand Plover

Greater Sand Plover

Terek Sandpiper
Terek Sandpiper

White-cheeked Terns
White-cheeked Terns

White-cheeked Little and Lesser Crested Terns
Terns

Lesser Crested Tern
Lesser Crested Tern

Lesser Sand Plover
Lesser Sand Plover

one looking more like a nutty professor
Lesser Sand Plover

Permalink

2009-09-20

Eid holiday shots ( by Brendan)

Permalink 04:39:15 pm, Categories: Reported Observations  

Migrants are coming though in small numbers but a good range of species. Below are a few recent photographs of what is around.

masked shrike

namaqua

waders

ringed Plover

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2009-09-19

Pallid or Montagu's Harrier

Permalink 10:56:24 pm, Categories: Reported Observations  

A discussion with Howard raised the notion that the Harrier below might be a Montagu's. The deciding factor for me is the light collar on the Pallid. I have added another shot of the same bird to show the collar. Definitely a Pallid in my book.

Pallid

Yep I would agree on that Brendan - my books confirm that as well

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2009-09-18

Migrants coming

Permalink 10:20:37 pm, Categories: Reported Observations  

The morning was quiet but the afternoon provided a few migrants. I (Brendan) was at Ali farm most of the day and got lucky with this shot of a Pallid Harrier drinking from a pool of water. 2 Pallid Harriers and 3 Collared Pratincoles were the highlight of the day.


Pallid

Permalink

2009-09-13

Some migrants

Permalink 09:20:28 pm, Categories: Reported Observations  

Over the weekend I (Brendan) was erecting nets in Isa Farm (Hawarad Agricultural Farm)in preparation for Eid. We managed to catch whitethroat, Great reed warbler, Rufous bush robin and Barred warbler. The highlight of the weekend however was a quick view of a Golden Oriole coming to drink. I happened to have camera at hand.


oriole

Permalink

A busy weekend 11/12th

Permalink 21:18:18, Categories: Observation by Howard  

managed to check out bits of shore line around Maharraq and the gardens at Buri and Hamalah but the best birds seen have to be the Golden Orioles which I missed but Brendan did manage a photo in Sh Zayed Town MOA site where he was ringing. Plus fitted in a trip down to Zallaq

My trip south to Zallaq Beach gave me the best photograph of the day this Hoopoe

Two Southern Grey Shrikes

A Tree Pipit

Buri Gardens, the Chicken Farm and Hamalah Farm produced a mixed bag

A flock of Short-toed Larks

A bag full of Yellow Wagtails

Grey Francolins

Rufous Bushchat

Isabelline Shrike

Isabelline Wheatear

Temminck's Stint

A Glossy Ibis

Turnstone Marsh Sandpiper Green Shank & Ruff

Wood Sandpiper

Ruff

Crested Lark

A spotted Flycatcher

From the shore at Maharraq

A playful Isabelline Wheatear

Little Stint

Greater Sand Plover

Lesser Sand Plover

Grey Plover

Mixed Plovers

Greater Sand Plover with a Kentish

Lesser Sand Plover with a Kentish

MORE DISTANT RECORD SHOTS

Lesser Crested Tern

Gull-billed Tern

Oyster Catcher

Curlew

Caspian Tern

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2009-09-09

Back from a wet leave

Permalink 19:00:20, Categories: Observation by Howard  

Had withdrawal symptoms in the UK - Wales was so WET AND WINDY now settling back into the heat humidity and haze of Bahrain ---
Spent the afternoon yesterday after work prowling Maharraq shore - lots of waders and terns present sadly on the sunny side making them no good to Photograph but on the reclamation at Busaiteen a few migrants were found the easiest to get to grips with were these
Black-eared Wheatear (melanoleuca) a dark throated individual
Black-eared Wheatear

Black-eared Wheatear

Black-eared Wheatear

Hoopoe
Hoopoe

Permalink

2009-07-26

Putting in an apearance

Permalink 07:19:29 am, Categories: Observation by Howard  

Great Reed Warbler, Hoopoe, Yellow Wagtail, Ruff, Curlew, Temminck's Stint, Curlew Sandpiper and other waders are starting to be reported from various locations indicating the return migration has started.

Permalink

2009-07-19

Busy weekend on Hawar

Permalink 20:08:32, Categories: Observation by Howard  

Western Reef Heron
Western Reef Heron

Western Reef Heron

The rather elusive Hoopoe Lark
Hoopoe Lark

Greater Sandplover with a Kentish Plover - good for size comparison
Greater Sandplover

Greater Sand Plover - always problematic but the bills are the easiest field mark to note
Greater Sand Plover

Greater Sand Plover

Greater Sand Plover

Lesser Sand Plover
Lesser Sand Plover

Lesser Sand Plover

Greenshank
Greenshank

White-cheeked Tern from both Hawar and Muharraq
White-cheeked Tern

White-cheeked Tern

White-cheeked Tern

White-cheeked Tern

White-cheeked Tern

White-cheeked Tern

White-cheeked Tern

White-cheeked Tern

White-cheeked Tern

White-cheeked Tern

Not the best images of a Sooty Falcon but was early 6.30 in the morning and had the wrong lens.

Sooty Falcon

Sooty Falcon

Sooty Falcon

Sooty Falcon

Sooty Falcon

Sooty Falcon

Slender-billed Gull
Slender-billed Gull

Finally an Alexandrine Parakeet just to prove to Brendan they do exist this one comes to my garden on a regular basis.
Alexandrine Parakeet

compared with the Ring Necked
Ringed Necked Parakeet

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2009-07-04

The dust continues

Permalink 16:21:04, Categories: Observation by Howard  

One day soon the sun will come out and we might get a blue sky - on that day I will probably have to work.

Went to Buhair just for a few hours mainly to catalog any breeding species. It was fairly quiet but I did count eleven pairs of Little Grebe many still attending their floating nests. I did manage to catch this group closer to the shore on the main pond.

Little Grebes

Quite a few Moorhen around over twenty pairs at least
Moorhen

Little Terns I found seven pairs but could be more certainly not less.
Little Terns

There were 3 Squacco Herons which with the two at Adhari and other at Dumistan make this years summer population potential breeders.
Squacco Heron

A pair of Grey Herons and nine Little egrets were noted along with seven pairs of Black Winged Stilts.

But the bird of the day had to be this rather distant White-winged Black Tern that was always just too far away over the more inaccessible parts of the marshes.
White-winged Black Tern

Permalink

Friday 3rd July 2009

Permalink 08:15:04, Categories: Observation by Howard  

This 2cy Black-headed Gull at Dumistan caused a bit of a stir on the Birdforum when AJ asked for assistance in identification - Grey-headed Black-headed even Brown-headed as well as Slender-bill Gull where all suggested until we provided additional images that enabled its ID to be proved beyond a doubt. Yellow legs and bill along with dark eye and brown cap made it a strange looking gull.

2cy black-headed gull

2cy black-headed gull

The bushes at Dumistan where alive with Yellow Wagtail (feldegg)for a second week AJ managed some real closeup shots.
Yellow Wagtail

The desert around the water was alive with nesting Kentish Plover - I managed to get a few shots of birds just hatching under the female with one egg to go

Kentish Plover

Kentish Plover

After the chicken farm we moved on to Buhair -
The Glossy Ibis was still present as were the breeding Little Terns and Little Grebes along with a Purple Heron some Night Herons Little Egrets and Black-winged Stilts.

Glossy Ibis

Glossy Ibis

Little Terns
Little Terns

Purple Heron
Purple Heron

After Buhair we went to Adhari - an environmental disaster area the ditches have been cleared with a JCB and all the Thorn trees removed
bar one which will go today - there is simply no excuse for this action - the last picture of a breeding Little Bittern from here

Little Bittern

Permalink

2009-06-26

Didn't go or just got back - a question I can't answer

Permalink 21:00:41, Categories: Observation by Howard  

I spent the morning going around Maharraq on the high tide - I was surprised by the number and variety of waders that I found. I must have seen over fifty Greater Sand Plovers alone but beside the odd expected Grey Plover and Kentish I found Lesser Sand Plover, Redshank, Curlew Sandpiper, Turnstone and three Terek Sandpipers - Add to these Western Reef Heron, Saunders's and Little Terns, Lesser Crested and White-cheeked Terns - the shore line was pretty busy.

Starting with my favourite shot of the day = a family portrait of Kentish Plover
Kentish Plover

Kentish Plover
Kentish Plover

Greater Sand Plover
Greater Sandplover

Greater Sandplover

Greater Sandplover

Greater Sandplover

Lesser Sand Plover - almost showing a white collar
Lesser Sandplover

Lesser Sandplover with two Kentish for size comparison
Plovers

Saunders's Tern
Saunders's Tern

Saunders's Tern

Little Tern starting with a youngster
Little Tern


Little Tern

Little Tern

Western Reef Heron - probably this years bird -
Western Reef Heron

Found what it was looking for
Western Reef Heron

Terek Sandpipers with Greater Sand Plovers - a picture taken straight into the early morning sun
Terek Sandpipers

Redshank
Redshank

Curlew Sandpiper
Curlew Sandpiper

Curlew Sandpiper

Curlew Sandpiper

Permalink

2009-06-20

Busy weekend despite a dust storm

Permalink 23:08:06, Categories: Observation by Howard  

Friday

saw our first trip to Jarim this year - bird numbers have increased yet again; the Lesser Crested Terns now number on the first island I estimate over ten thousand Birds with the Bridled close to a thousand and White-cheeked over the islands in general a similar number. Brendan ringed 450 Lesser Crested Tern chicks ably assisted by Abdulqader Kamis with my crew - all the odd bods like Kev AJ Nabeel and Mohammed(our coastguard crew)and myself scrambling through the dirt and dust sweeting our '' off catching the little blighters made worse by yet another dust storm that had descended again on Bahrain.

Lesser-crested Terns
Lesser-crested Terns

Bridled Terns -
Bridled Terns

Bridled Terns

Saturday

Weather just as yucky as Fridays but more humid with less wind
Having crashed out early on our return the day before from Jarim I was up bright and early and spent the morning trolling the gardens around Buri and Dumistan checking out what was active.

Rufous Bush Robin a territorial dispute between males
Rufous Bush Robin

Rufous Bush Robin

Rufous Bush Robin

Collared Partincole
Collared Partincole

Collared Dove
Collared Dove

Crested Lark
Crested Lark

Palm Dove
Palm Dove

House Sparrow
House Sparrow

Dove just a weird one a funny colour
Dove

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2009-06-14

Hot weather gets hotter

Permalink 07:18:27, Categories: Observation by Howard  

Spent just Saturday out assisting a film crew filming various aspects of Bahrain's Natural History - few photographic opportunities for birds but did come across a few anomalies at Buhair - Two Squacco Heron and a Glossy Ibis -unusual for this time of the year. Sadly the reeds have been chopped making a close approach to the water difficult however snapped these from a distance.

Glossy Ibis center - Little Egret left - Western Reef right Grey heron just visible at the back
4inone
Glossy Ibis
Glossy Ibis

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2009-06-06

hot and getting hotter

Permalink 17:21:33, Categories: Observation by Howard  

Only could manage Friday this weekend - spent a lot of time checking out potential sites for returning migrants - only a month to wait and something will be back despite the heat

I didn't take many photos mainly cause I didn't find many birds at the Chicken farm the Black-winged stilts are progressing nicely although we know dogs have taken a few chicks many are now fledging and trying out their wings.

Black-winged Stilt

Black-winged Stilt

Black-winged Stilt

Moorhen - have had a good year but most wetland sites are under threat
Moorhen

White-cheeked Terns - the bird on the right is a first winter bird unusual to see at this time of the year.

White-cheeked terns

Permalink

2009-05-30

Not a lot

Permalink 14:10:58, Categories: Observation by Howard  

Spent Friday and Saturday looking for terns in odd places end up with very few and only a few Kentish plovers

Kentish Plover
Kentish Plover

Kentish Plover

Nest with eggs
Kentish Plover nest

White-cheeked Tern
White-cheeked Tern

Permalink

2009-05-25

Boy is it getting hot

Permalink 06:50:51, Categories: Observation by Howard  

This last weekend saw the mercury rise to the mid forties which with the increase in humidity made for a sweaty weekend. Needless to say most migrants have now passed so I spent my time seeing what was left mostly on the shore.

Some non-breeding waders Curlew, Grey and Ringed Plover a Northern Cormrant and an Oyster Catcher plus a few Grey Herons and a small number of Slender-billed Gulls remain on the shore amongst our summer breeding terns and Reef Herons. In the gardens very little now around a few Bushchats and Olivaceous warblers supplement our resident birds along with the last of the Flycatchers.

Breeding Birds are always worth finding Black-winged Stilt chicks are beginning to show as are the first Reef Heron chicks around the Mangroves of Tubli bay. The Kentish seem to have finished although some might second brood otherwise its birds building nests or tending young.

Western Reef Heron
Western Reef Heron

Western Reef Heron

Black-winged Stilt
Black-winged Stilt

Chick
Black-winged Stilt

Kentish Plover - a really washed out and odd looking bird
Kentish Plover

Namaqua Dove - a juvenile bird indicating continued successful breeding
Namaqua Dove

Wood Sandpiper
Wood Sandpiper

Ringed Plover
Ringed Plover

Eurasian Curlew
Eurasian Curlew

Northern Cormorant
Northern Cormorant

Large Gull species unknown
Large Gull

Slender-billed Gulls with Caspian Terns
Ras

Night herons returning from a nights hunting
Ras

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2009-05-21

From the office window

Permalink 14:13:09, Categories: Observation by Howard  

Every day at the moment I see hundreds of Pallid Swifts zapping by my office window I am on the 21st floor and the glass is tinted so getting a good picture is nigh on impossible but here are a few just to show you what it is like

The view
view

Paliid Swifts
view

view

Permalink

2009-05-16

Hamalah Chicken Factory waste water pond

Permalink 07:10:19, Categories: Observation by Howard  

Friday 15th May Spent the morning out with Adrian, we had intended o visit a few places but never got much beyond the Chicken Farm in Hamalah spending most of the time at the waste water pond behind the processing factory. The variety of birds on view was surprising but the challenge of the day was to see who could get the best photo of the White-winged Black Tern hawking the area.

White-winged Black Tern
White-winged Black Tern

White-winged Black Tern

White-winged Black Tern

White-winged Black Tern

At the other end of the site at the experimental farm a few birds were seen nothing like the numbers of last month mind, just a few late migrants and some local residents

Spotted Fly-catcher caught luckily moments after take off
Spotted Fly-catcher

Red-vented Bulbul
Spotted Fly-catcher

Barn Swallow
Swallow

Swallow

Red-backed Shrike a rather distant shot of what could be the seasons last for this species.
Red-backed Shrike

Rufous Bushchat a problem with this area is that the sprinklers are well scattered and a fair distance from any road making close photography an impossibility
Rufous BushchatRufous Bushchat

Red-vented Bulbul
Red-vented Bulbul

A resident breeding species around the pond but so vocal and aggressive to all other species particularly the tern they were constantly disturbing the calm of the morning with aggressive aerial displays.
Black-winged Stilt

Black-winged Stilt

Back at the pond Green Shank and Wood Sandpiper.

Turnstones and our black and white friend
Turnstones and our black and white friend

Turnstones forcing a way in between a Ruff and a Wood Sandpiper
Turnstones

Saunders's Tern - a single pair note the square cut white forehead and no dart at the lower corners behind the eye. Adrian managed some good shots of the Little Terns see O&B with AJ for that
Saunders's Tern

Other species seen at the pond were Little and Temminck's Stints, Green Sandpiper, Dunlin, Kentish Plovers, breeding Moorhen and Cattle Egrets, Black-headed Gulls, White-cheeked Tern, Redshank, Namaqua, Palm, and Collared Doves, Crested Larks and a million Sparrows.

Permalink

2009-05-08

Things have gone quiet again

Permalink 16:45:28, Categories: Observation by Howard  

Spotted Flycatchers were everywhere today but one of the last migrants to pass in big numbers in the spring - summer is but a few weeks away.

But the bird of the morning has to be this Rufous morph female Cuckoo
Cuckoo

Spotted Flycatcher
Spotted Flycatcher

Spotted Flycatcher

Kentish Plover - the bright breeding plumage of the spring and breeding is beginning to fade.
Kentish Plover

Whinchat wearing a bracelet obviously its been through Brendan's hands
Whinchat

A couple of the more mundane and common species here
Palm Dove
Palm Dove

Crested Lark
Crested Lark

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2009-05-04

Strong winds brings large spring fall

Permalink 07:09:01, Categories: Observation by Howard  

The Shamal that kicked in on Friday afternoon with winds gusting over 25knots acted as a giant stopper for birds moving north. I went ringing with Brendan on Saturday mourning and we were amazed at the number of birds that had dropped down into our ringing site south of Al Jazair beach. Willow, Barred, Upchers & Reed Warblers, Whitethroat, Blackcaps, Redstarts, and Nightingales were crammed into the small area. Overhead Swallows House Martins and Bee-eaters continue however to pass as did larger birds like Rollers. The wind dropped considerably on Saturday night allowing birds to move on but come Sunday morning it had picked up again with Sunday a a public Holiday here we returned to pickup were we had left off. The early morning drive down proved very interesting as I counted in the last 4kms along the western shore road 17 Red-backed, 9 Lesser Grey and 3 Woodchat Shrikes plus 3 Rock Thrush Whinchats, Ortolan and Red-throated Buntings and a few yellow Wagtails plus a heap of warblers skitting between the desert vegetation. New birds now occupied the ringing site as we had no re-traps from the day before, it proved to be just as fruitful as the previous day.

Begging to be snapped this Rock Thrush one of the 3 at Al Jazair was amazing
Rock Thrush

Rock Thrush

Rock Thrush

hard to get close to the Shrikes proved unusually difficult to photograph
Lesser Grey Shrike

Lesser and Red-backed Shrikes
Shrikes

Red-backed Shrike
Red-backed Shrike

Red-backed Shrike

Woodchat Shrike
Woodchat Shrike

Whinchat
Whinchat

Whinchat1

Yellow Wagtail
Yellow Wagtail

Permalink

2009-05-02

Temperature rising 43c today

Permalink 03:44:31 am, Categories: Observation by Howard  

I met Adrian at the Chicken Farm at Hamalah in the afternoon he was parked up by the pond - on my way to join him I spotted this Caspian Plover in a small hollow - Adrian managed some better frontal shots after he moved to join me see O&About with AJ for those.

Caspian Plover

Caspian Plover

Before that I had been stuck in the sand at Buri - I had reversed up onto a small mound and got crested no wheels on the ground fortunately Brendan was on hand to pull me out - I had been reversing to get this picture of a Spotted Flycatcher

Spotted Flycatcher

I had spent most of the morning on the Maharraq shoreline - interesti ng for what was not seen rather than what I found - I didn't see a single Broad-billed Sandpiper Godwit Curlew Whimbrel or little Stint plus only one Western Reef Heron - The Herons are all on the breeding grounds elsewhere in Bahrain.

I did find a few small flocks of waders these are mainly Curlew Sandpiper with a few Dunlin mixed in.
Curlew Sandpiper

the only other substantial flock I found was this mixed flock of Sand Plovers
Greater and Lesser Sand Plovers
Greater and Lesser Sandplovers

Tentative ID - Greater Sandplover
Greater Sand  Plover

Lesser Sandplover
Lesser Sandplover

Lesser Crested Terns with White-cheeked in foreground
Lesser Crested Terns

White-cheeked Tern
White-cheeked tern

White-cheeked tern

Saunders's Tern
Saunders's tern

Western Reef Heron
Western Reef Heron

Permalink

2009-04-27

A hot return

Permalink 06:46:47 pm, Categories: Observation by Howard  

Returned to Bahrain late on Friday I did manage a few hours out on Saturday afternoon - following on AJ'S advice I went to the Chicken farm at Dumistan - lot of birds there - the Collared Pratincoles in particular but viewing in the afternoon is difficult as you have to look straight into the sun however I did take a few pictures of varying quality

Male Namaqua Dove
Namaqua Dove
Lesser Short-toed Lark - have to thank JanJ on the bird forum for the ID on this fellow
Lesser Short-toed Lark
Kentish Plover
Kentish Plover
and chicks galore - lots of these little fellows around as well
Kentish Plover
Collared Pratincole
Collared Pratincole
not so many as AJ saw but nice all the same
Collared Pratincole
Ortolan Bunting - Still a few around -
Ortolan Bunting
Red-throated Pipit even more of these fellow remain
Red-throated Pipit

Red-throated Pipit
Rufous Bushchats - moving in and claiming territories ahead of breeding
Rufous Bushchats
Wood Sandpiper, a very long legged Little stint and Collared Dove
mixed
Wood Sandpiper
Wood Sandpiper

Wood Sandpiper
Cattle Egrets in full breeding plumage with male Ruff in the background
Cattle Egrets
Black-winged Stilt with Turnstones
Black-winged Stilts
Black-winged Stilt
Black-winged Stilt
On the way back into town I stopped off at Adhari the only birds of merit that I could get close to were these
Bee-eater on the wrong side of the bush
Bee-eater
Male Little Bittern hiding deep in the scrub overlooking the main drainage ditch
Little Bittern

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2009-04-20

Away for Easter

Permalink 06:45:51 pm, Categories: Observation by Howard  

Will return to Bahrain this week

Permalink

2009-04-04

The sun came out today

Permalink 20:35:59, Categories: Observation by Howard  

What a difference a day makes warm and sunny but with a steady breeze still the same species of bird as yesterday being seen but a little easier to Photograph despite a few whirlygigs (dust devils) passing through

Ortolan Bunting
Ortolan Bunting

Yellow Wagtail - two ssp here and I'm not even going to guess what they are
Yellow Wagtail

Yellow Wagtail

Red-throated Pipit
Red-throated Pipit

Red-throated Pipit

Pale Rock Sparrow and Red-throated Pipit
Pale Rock Sparrow and Red-throated Pipit

Woodchat Shrike
Woodchat Shrike

Isabelline Wheatear
Isabelline Wheatear

Graceful Prinia
Graceful Prinia

Graceful Prinia

Northern Wheatear
Northern Wheatear

Crested Lark
Crested Lark

Around the Chicken Plant waste water outfall
Common Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper

Little Egret
Little Egret

Ruff
Ruff

Squacco Heron
Squacco Heron

On my way home I pass through Askar not much on the beach -

Greenshank and Bar-tailed Godwit
Greenshank and Bar-tailed Godwit

Pair Gull-billed Tern
Gull-billed Tern

Pair Saunders Tern
Pair Saunders Tern

Permalink

2009-04-03

Rain yet again

Permalink 18:38:32, Categories: Observation by Howard  

Don't know why the weather has turned so unseasonal - rain and low cloud seems to be the norm at the moment - great for the desert since we have not had much rain for over two years. I am expecting a late showing of flowers around the place next week as a consequence. On the bird front the migration is very hit and miss according to the strength of the winds. Today more Pratincoles, Red-throated Pipits, Ortolan Buntings, Pale Rock Sparrows,Yellow Wagtails, Chiffchaff and now Willow Warblers are passing in ever increasing numbers. Nightingale Redstart the odd Stonechat loads of Shrikes and Wheatears of numerous species continue to populate every available habitat. Ruff, Kentish and Ringed plovers on the fields are increasing in number while today Caspian Plovers were the birds of the morning.I managed a couple of reasonable but distant and much cropped plus in the poor light adjusted photos
Caspian Plover

Caspian Plover

Caspian Plover

The rain was at times heavy as can be seen in this next shot mind you I don't think much of this Isabelline Shrikes' choice fro an umbrella

Isabelline Shrike

Collared Pratincole
Collared Pratincole

Northern Wheatear
Northern Wheatear

This photo of a Chiffchaff was taken yesterday - the sun was out then
Chiffchaff

Cattle Egret
Cattle Egret

Rather high in a bland sky Honey Buzzard drifts by
Honey Buzzard

Pied Wheatear
Pied Wheatear

Yellow Wagtail
Yellow Wagtail

Red-throated Pipits
Red-throated Pipits

Ringed Plover and Isabelline Wheatear
Ringed Plover and Isabelline Wheatear

Permalink

2009-03-31

Down on Hawar

Permalink 08:37:13, Categories: Observation by Howard  

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
Sun Rise over Hazwarah

The crew
Film crew

Desert Hyacinth the only flash of colour seen
Desert Hyacinth

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.

Osprey

Osprey

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
Hoopoe Lark

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
Western reef hereon nest and eggs

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.
Socotra Cormorant Juvenille

Socotra Cormorant Juvenille

Socotra Cormorant Juvenille

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2009-03-14

Not many species yet

Permalink 18:06:41, Categories: Observation by Howard  

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
Bimaculated Lark

Bimaculated Lark

Black Redstart
Black Redstart

Lesser Whitethroat
Lesser Whitethroat

Isabelline Wheatear - they were everywhere this weekend
Isabelline Wheatear

Isabelline Wheatear

Isabelline Wheatear

Pied Wheatear - Like the Isabelline they were everywhere
Pied Wheatear

Pied Wheatear

Pied Wheatear

Pied Wheatear

Grey Francolin
Grey Francolin

Palm Dove
Palm Dove

Cattle Egret
Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

Isabelline Shrike - the most numerous of the shrikes - seen near and far
Isabelline Shrike

Isabelline Shrike

Issabelline Shrike

Woodchat Shrike
Woodchat Shrike

Woodchat Shrike

Female House Sparrow - just one of millions here
Female House Sparrow

Chiffchaff
Chiffchaff

Permalink

2009-03-09

A public Holiday

Permalink 20:26:02, Categories: Observation by Howard  

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

Lesser White-throat
Lesser White-throat

a different view
Lesser White-throat

Lesser White-throat

Isabelline Shrike
Isabelline Shrike

Pied Wheatear - the site also includes some good desert scrub good
Pied Wheatear

Permalink

2009-03-08

March - spring is here

Permalink 21:53:55, Categories: Observation by Howard  

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
Rock Thrush

Hoopoe - sadly photographed through a chain link fence but to nice effect
Hoopoe

Pied Wheatear both male and Female could be found at every turn in the desert.
Pied Wheatear

Pied Wheatear

Permalink

2009-02-28

Permalink 22:29:25, Categories: Observation by Howard  

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

Greater Sandplover

The same individual as above moments before in company with a Redshank

Greater Sandplover

Lesser Crested Tern caught this one fishing at the same spot Graham saw the Sooty Gull - interestingly when they dive they disappear completely

Lesser Creasted Tern

splash

Lesser Crested Tern

Pairs of Kentish Plovers were a common sight - they will start to breed soon

Kentish Plover

Even managed to get a decent shot of a very common species here the Flamingo

Flamingo

Another Great Black-headed Gull my third this weekend

Great Black-headed Gull

Western Reef Heron - dark morph yellow at both ends

Western Reef Heron

the number of Curlew around seems to be increasing found them everywhere

Curlew

Permalink

2009-02-27

Sooty Gull - 5th Bahrain Record

Permalink 02:40:07 pm, Categories: Observation by Howard  

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

Sooty Gull

Permalink

On the shore

Permalink 00:31:38, Categories: Observation by Howard  

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.
Mixed flock

Mixed waders

Mixed

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
Slender-billed Gull

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.
Great Black-headed Gull

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
Curlew

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
Grey Plover

Grey Plover

Grey Plover

The area is popular for many of the Heron and egret species we have this one caught me by surprise.
Grey Heron

Marsh Sandpipers are common at this site I counted over twenty most were too distant

Ringed plover surprisingly the only one I saw today
Ringed Plover

Turnstone a common species along much of the shore
Turnstone

Redshank one of hundreds at this site
Redshank

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.
Geater Sand Plover

Geater Sand Plover

If confirmation is needed that this is greater take a look at the flight below
Geater Sand Plover

Geater Sand Plover

Geater Sand Plover

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
Probably Lesser

plover

Fairly certain these next two are Lesser Sand Plover trying to disguise themselves as something else.
Lesser Sand Plover

Lesser Sand Plover

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.

Flock of waders

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2009-02-20

Stong winds all week

Permalink 18:05:03, Categories: Observation by Howard  

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
Blue Rock Thrush
Pied Wheatear the first seen for the season.
Pied Wheatear
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.
Night Heron
Squacco Heron
Squacco Heron
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
Citrine Wagtail
Citrine Wagtail
Siberian Stonechat
Siberian Stonechat
Sparrow Hawk
Sparrow Hawk

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2009-02-08

Belated Posting

Permalink 07:38:03, Categories: Observation by Howard  

Here are Brendan's pics of the two Pied Kingfishers that he and Abdullah saw see last week at Adharri

Pied Kingfisher
Pied Kingfisher

Pied Kingfisher

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2009-02-06

Hamalah Experimental Farm

Permalink 06:44:03, Categories: Observation by Howard  

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.

Cattle Egret
Cattle Egret

Corn Bunting
Corn Bunting

Corn Bunting

Skylark
Skylark

Stonechats
Stonechat

Stonechat

White-cheeked Bulbul
White-cheeked Bulbul

This one we think was ringed at Badaan Farm have most of the number now and checking records
White-cheeked Bulbul

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2009-02-03

Chasing species

Permalink 05:48:50, Categories: Observation by Howard  

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
side view
Stonechat

Stonechat

A distant male watching the motorway traffic
Stonechat

Common Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper

Green Sandpiper
Green Sandpiper

Isabelline Shrike
Isabelline Shrike

Western Reef Heron - starting to show breeding plumes
Western Reef Heron

Graceful Warbler - Doing what a prinia always does
Graceful Warbler

Black-crowned Night Heron - a juvenile bird
Black-crowned Night Heron

Gull-billed Tern - hawking the main ditch
Gull-billed Tern

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2009-01-31

A very good day

Permalink 19:45:09, Categories: Observation by Howard  

Today's birding was exceptional - up to 10 Linnets 3rd accepted country record found by Brendan and 2 (poss)3 Chaffinch 8th country Record found by me both from the gardens north of Burri. To top things off Brendan and Abdullah had 2 Pied Kingfishers (lifers for them) at Adhari west of the amusement park in the late afternoon. I had started my day at this site and was pleased to find a Black-Throated thrush our 5th or 6th record for this winter alone. Squacco Heron, Little Bittern, Song Thrush Spotted Crake and Pintail Snipe were amongst the species seen. Sadly I only got pictures of the Squacco Herons so heavily overgrown are the ditches that by the time you find a bird and stop, its disappeared into the vegetation. At Hamalah and Buri Desert and Isabelline Wheatears, Stonechats, Skylarks, Meadow and Water Pipits, Corn Buntings and White Wagtails remain prominent at these sites. Isabelline and Great Grey Shrikes along with Blue-throats were frequently seen.

One of the Linnets sadly as far as photography is concerned,seen on the sunny side of the track. I only managed to get a few record shots.

Linnet

Linnet

Linnet

Squacco Heron
Squacco Heron

Squacco Heron

Graceful Warbler
Graceful Warbler

Collared Dove

White Wagtail
White Wagtail

Crested Lark if only all species were this confiding
Crested Lark

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2009-01-04

Away on Leave at the moment

Permalink 01:17:25 pm, Categories: Observation by Howard  

Freezing at home in Pembrokeshire at the moment back later this month Message to Liam my youngest - Hope your school project is going well Liam

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