What a contrast in the weather this weekend - muggy and heavily overcast with the sun only occasionally being glimpsed. I will remember this as the week of Shrikes so many in fact I lost count. Three species Red-backed Lesser Grey and Isabelline dominated the day. Willow Warblers although everywhere and far more numerous unless you twitched every bush they were hardly as noticeable as the Shrikes were perched on every available bush. I got the camera back but fixed fully open at 500mm seems the O ring on the tube has again become displaced. It seems to work most of the time but I did miss a few class shots as it failed to focus in time.
I started Friday early down at Askar Marsh where I found a Black-winged Stilt out in the open with a brood of 4 chicks. Seldom together I managed a few shots of some. The marsh was also holding a large number of Ruff, a few pairing Little Terns, and nesting Western Reef Herons and Little Egrets. Clamourous Warblers most of them ringed were very conspicuous.
After the marsh I drove around most green spots down south in the desert checking what was around and was surprised that I only found a few Wheatears, the hundred of the previous week had gone with just a few stragglers remaining. A distant Rock thrush was practically the sum total of birds on the Jebel.
On Saturday Adhari and the Farm at Hamala proved equally fruitful for Shrikes Willow Warbles Winchat Redstart and Spotted Fly Catchers. Swallows, Sandmartins with the odd Pratincole continue to pass, but the Bee-eaters passage remains light. Redthroated Pipits and a few wagtails remain
Lesser Grey Shrike
Blackwinged Stilt and the chicks below
Blackwinged Stilt chick
a record shot of the four
Little Terns pair bonding by passing fish note the female who recieved the fish is ringed - we have to date only ringed chicks in the nest so this bird is second generation
Had a problem with my camera this week my 5000mm ate some dust and jammed the focus. Will add more pics during the week if I get it fixed hopefully my friend in Ashrafs will succeed.
The migration continues unabated Willow Barred and White-throats warblers being the most numerous species seen. Lots of Swallows Bee-eaters and an occasional Martin passing overhead with Red-Backed and Lesser Grey Shrikes, Northern Wheatears and still White-throated Robins to be found in the deserts and scrub areas down south. In the gardens Bush-chats, yellow wags and Red-throated pipits are now everywhere.
I meet with Abdulla Wednesday afternoon to view some Hoopoe Chicks in a nest at Hamalah only to find the nest had been raided and the chicks taken. No doubt if the chicks survive more than a day or so they will end up being sold in the nearest local market at Hamad Town for a few dinars.
I started the day picking up an old friend Simon Wilson and we headed off to Busaiteen - an odd experience thousands of cricketers but very few birds - given that the tide was high there was nothing worthwhile on the shore. The waders are still here but today they were not roosting at Busaiteen. Still had a good time out with Simon visiting many old haunts but didn't think much of the Shisha joint we went to in Adaliya we have to blame Ali for that who we meet there.
Chiffchaff one of dozens seen
Collared Pratincole only one seen today
Whinchat females were also seen
Seems the weather wants to disrupt the flow this week - it rained from squally showers on Friday which settled the dust locally however by the evening a giant dust storm moved in from the Arabian peninsular making the eveing and Saturday morning a nose itching and eye rubbing event. However as I post I have just heard my first Bee-eater of the season however yesterday was unique as I didn't record other than Prinia a single warbler.
Saunders's Tern - an early starter at Busaiteen - the Little terns at Adhari have yet to lay
Socotra Cormorants on the move off the Saudi Causeway here a few thousands of the tens of thousands in this flock
Pratincole four recorded at Buri
Curlew now five at Hamalah Farm
Hoopoe there are hundred around this year
Grey Francolin one of thousands many with extended families of chicks
Pallid Harrier one of two encountered today
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