Either someone has wiped out entire species of migrant populations or the continuing hot weather and global warming is having a distinct detrimental effect on the migration pattern we are experiencing here this year. Or are there other factors having an effect. There remains a distinct shortage of small stuff - mostly warblers and pipits even wagtails but alarmingly for instance no Oriels and only a few Rollers and thrush species have been noted. Both myself and friends who photograph birds in passing on a regular basis have recorded the same to the point that we are asking "where have our birds gone". Normally I am away for August but this year I wasn't so under recording or lack of obs time is not a factor. Someone suggested that this was not the effect of global warming alone but due to the fact that to our north we have large war zones through which our birds have to pass and people were hunting birds out of necessity birds for food or as in the case for Saudi and Kuwait hunting them just for fun to the point few are making it through.
In a normal year the Hypocolius arrive from around the 15th of October this year it was this weekend two weeks late. They are a species I monitor very closely - when here they can be easily found very early any mornings as they do congregate in know areas. They do however remain at this time of day difficult to photograph the rising sun can be difficult to get around.
Clamorous Reed Warbler now a resident breeding species
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater a steady passage but overall small in comparison to other years
Bee-eater a disappointing show
1st year Citrine Wagtail fast becoming a rarity
Curlew despite the hundreds around our shores only now has the one become two at Hamalah
Isabelline Shrike a species bucking the trend - good numbers this year here 3 of the 5 at Hamalah
Isabelline Wheatear reasonable numbers
Stonechat just beginning to arrive in any real numbers
White Wagtail just the odd one or two normally we have hundreds
Cattle Egrets now a substantial breeding species
Little Grebe like many resident breeding species it has been a good year
No shortage on the shore thankfully of our regular species other than Spoonbills and Marsh Sandpiper - Back-headed Gull - one of thousands
Mallard an unusual sight to behold at Hamalah - a fodder farm
Common Mynah an escaped species reaching almost plague proportions in some areas
Have noted quite a few lonely warblers moving through but getting a decent photograph has proved nigh on impossible - but some days have their compensations like this Friday when I found two Marsh Harriers socializing together at Hamalah.
Marsh Harriers at Hamalah
the right hand bird
The left hand bird
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater only a few seen today
Isabelline Shrike one of five or six wintering at Hamalah now
White-throat this one was in my own garden - pic taken through the window - one of many seen
A strange migrant season thus far for certain, with normally common species very late in arriving others not being seen at all. One species beating the trend however is Desert Warbler numbers normally seen in a season are being repeated on a daily basis.
This is rather A large posting since it cover two mid week excursions made during the Ashora Holidays.
Masked Shrike 1st winter
Great Reed Warbler
Greater Sand Plover
Lesser Sand Plover
Western Reef Heron
Dunlin and a single Broad-billed Sandpiper
Started Friday checking Busaiteen but this time around ended up with nothing special so moved on to a variety of other sites not a great deal there either, in all rather disappointing - I had expected these sites to be jumping. On Saturday I repeated the process a just in case I had missed something scenario - what a difference - birds particularly warblers, wheatears, and Isabelline shrikes streaming into the northerly facing beaches. It was difficult to know what to chase however with much of the small stuff it was a quick drop down then up and away to look for more favorable feeding grounds but not so for the Wheatears in particularly. They hung around on the shore happily picking off insects in the flotsam along the tide line.
But one nice thing about Busaiteen it does give one a chance to get to know the locals
Socotra Cormorant a young bird malting into adult plumage
Orphean Warbler from Busaiteen the only Warbler that hung around
Pied Wheatear probably the most numerous Wheatear coming ashore at Busaiteen
Isabelline Wheatear at Busaiteen
Isabelline Shrike on the shore
Desert Wheatear on the shore
Spotted Fly Catcher
Clamourous Reed Warbler a now resident breeder this one from Adhari ditches
Southern Red Bishop from Adhari - an escape still going strong
Short Toed Lark
Ringed Plover at the chick farm Hamalah with -
and Black-winged Stilt
After returning from the States and failing to get any free time to bird with a Shammal predicted I didn't expect the Muharrem holiday (Hijri, the Arabic New Year) to compensate by producing many birds but was pleasantly surprised by what I encountered. Failed to nail the warblers mind that I often saw other than Desert; once disturbed they drifted out of reach as the the wind carried them off into the murky distance. The best surprise came on Sunday, the dust levels had increased dramatically even though the wind had died down considerably with the first decent bird I encountered on a creep around the shore of Busaiteen - an Arctic Skua - a Lifer for me. An event always bound to make one's day - a rather ragged individual however a 1st yr into 2nd winter individual which wouldn't stay still. I finally after an hour or so got close enough for three rather static shots as it investigated the contents of a plastic bag but that was it, the sound of the camera was enough; up and away back out to sea, it's distinct profile quickly disappearing into the distance.
Rock Thrush - a good and sizeable passage
Isabelline Wheatear - so many they are hard to count
Great Grey Shrike
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