Saturday and another trip to the gardens raised hopes that the migration is about to start for real. A Wryneck and the first Woodchat Shrike of the season are good indicators the return cannot be far away. Checking the Hypocolius roost area in Jasra for stragglers first thing in the morning also proved quite fruitful. Not many birds remain from the large wintering flock but over twenty birds were noted but flew on from the morning roost by 7-30.
Isabelline Shrike numbers are beginning to increase as migrants join our wintering birds
Woodchat Shrike a distant shot of the seasons first
Over all a disappointing day with few species recorded although initially before getting anywhere special I found a Blue Rock thrush along side the main Highway. The farm areas around Jasra and Hamalah and the lake at Dumistan produced nothing new so as a last resort I tried Buri. After an initial unfruitful tour of quite an expansive area a rather attractive Stonechat caught my attention but no sooner had I stopped to line up for a photo luck smiled for there on the track was a Caspian Plover - so tame I was able to spend the next few hours happily snapping away as it wandered in and out of the vegetation and even into full frame view in the camera.
Blue Rock Thrush
There is always an element of luck when watching birds in Bahrain as the number and variety of species seen is always a factor of the time of year and the locations visited. Make the wrong choices and you can end up seeing only the regular resident species however if luck smiles, being on a migrant flyway, Bahrain is hard to beat. The latter was the case this weekend. Friday morning was crisp and damp with a heavey dew, expecting some warblers to be on the move I decided to concentrate on gardens with Adhari ditches and gardens planned as the first port of call. With a good mix of habitat and plenty of wet areas, it should produce a warbler or two but I was not prepared for what I found - Few warblers only Herons & egrets of every shape and size where ever I looked. Many were roosting in just a few clumps of trees with an easy approach. I ended up with an amazing species list of heronry without getting my feet wet. Throw in a few other species and I can only say it was an amazing morning. I never did make any other site.
The bird of the day had to be the Greenbacked or Striated Heron I found and almost ignored thinking it just another night Heron. Sat low down in a dark corner it was its yellow eye that seperated it from the many red eyed Night Herons among the trees. A real raity with only 5 previous records for Bahrain this is I believe the first time one has been photographed.
But back to the trees and the species seen from a single location - some of the more interesting pics of the species photographed. With a distance about 60 to 70 mtrs between me and the trees the reference pictures taken are not displayed here.
Squacco Heron - 5 others seen around the site
Purple Heron - single individual displaying in the trees
Little Bittern - one other an adult male seen
Black-crowned Night Heron
Cattle Egret with 3 in the tree
From around the site some of the other species photographed
Black-crowned Night Heron in total 13 were seen
Little Egret one of 18 seen
Hard to find harder to see a male Little Bittern
Great White Egret
Grey Heron - 3 observered
Western Reef Heron
and in the ditches
Signs of life by way of an increase in the number of winter visitors was noted this last week-end. Nothing outstanding or rather special was seen however but one got the sense that spring was not far away, was on the way.
Several Gardens contain a good number of Corn Buntings often heard they can be difficult to see
Isabelline Shrike - Wintering numbers are down on previous years but still the most comonly seen shrike species
Marsh Harrier - coming out of the sun one of several wintering this year
Steppe Buzzard - one of two seen this one trailing some form of string tether from being caught previously which sadly, if it gets caught on a branch or fence wire could easily result in the bird becoming tangled and dying a lingering death
Wood Sandpiper one of several seem at Buhair valley
Whimbrel - a very common long term visitor of wetlands and coastal margins
Lesser Creasted Tern - less numerous outside their summer breeding season good numbers remain through the winter
Flamingo - a youngster one of many seen among the large wintering flocks
Great White Egret - a species that can popup almost any time of the year
Nothing great to report on still - only the same old wintering & resident species to report on - the return migration is no far away so we wait ----
in the mean time
Great Black-headed Gull - a regular short but scarce mid-winter visitor
Squacco Heron - now a resident breeder increasing in numbers
Grey Francolin - widespread and common resident breeder
Bluethroat - common wintering species
Issabelline Shrike - common wintering species
Stonechat - colourful and abundant winter vistor
Snipe - around favoured maginal wet habitat a regular easily put to flight along with Pintails
Grey Heron - a common bird of coasts and wetland habitats
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