Archives for: 2016

2016-12-21

Windy and some rain helped the desert but disperses the birds

Permalink 18:11:59, Categories: Observation by Howard, Admin - Howard King  

December is always a busy month at work so any birding opportunities are few however I did manage a few trips out. Gratefully now back in the UK for Christmas with time to spare to put up the few pics I took. PICS in no particular order but to start what I think is my best photo of the month


Desert Warbler always a difficult bird to photograph patience with a element of luck paid off with this chap
Desert Warbler

Desert Warbler

Kestrel two seen one quite tame
Kestrel

Kestrel

Kestrel

Kestrel

Kestrel

Desert Wheatear
Desert Wheatear

Pallid Harrier
Pallid Harrier

Really was too late for these chaps as a Marsh with the Pallid Harrier depart
harriers

Paired Hoopoe - breeding season can't be far away
Hoopoe

Hoopoe

Black-headed Gull
Black-headed Gull

Black-headed Gull

Just them Northern/Siberian Gulls again so many any gull freaks heaven
GullGull

GullGull

GullGull

GullGull

GullGull

GullGull

GullGull

GullGull

GullGull

Gull

Curlew - eight now at Hamalah
Curlew

Curlew

Permalink

2016-12-04

Not a lot of change to report

Permalink 14:59:36, Categories: Admin - Howard King  

The two Barred Warblers making use of my garden to forage in the mornings, are still present


Barred Warbler

- the species has wintered before I wonder if they will this time around. The number of other species photographed remains much the same although I did manage some poorly lit shoots of two Song thrush at the Hypocolius roost at Jasra recently. Another problem has been the early morning fog in some places it has lingered so long have heard but not seen the birds present.

Song Thrush
Song Thrush

Stonechat all getting easier to photograph
Stonechat

Skylark a plenty - about 1 in 20 are likely to be Oriental problem is getting one in the open to be certain
Skylark

Isabelline Shrike
Isabelline Shrike

Isabelline Shrike

Isabelline Shrike

Isabelline Shrike

Isabelline Wheatear
Isabelline Wheatear

Hypocolius
Hypocolius

Hypocolius

Hypocolius

Permalink

2016-11-12

A great weekend for photography and a rarity

Permalink 16:49:45, Categories: Observation by Howard  

Since I had some business to attend to, down south on Thursday I was able to bird my journey back into town. This proved to be a more civilized way to beat the late afternoon traffic jams particularly those caused by the huge road improvements current along a large section of the eastern arterial route south, my way home. It was a good way to start the weekend.

Huge numbers of Gulls of all species can currently be found along the entire eastern shore from Jaw to Askar along with the usual cast of waders. There were no surprises here - being just offshore from our dump this is standard fare for this time of the year. Was surprised however to find a few Great Black-headed gulls mixed in but they were too distant to even point the camera at, an opportunity will present itself another day for those birds I am sure. The man-made marsh in front of the desalination plant at Ras Abu Jarjur is a great space for many water dependent species and so it proved for me on that visit. Not so much for species seen but for the photographic opportunities it offered but only if one is prepared to sit and wait. I had seen a couple of Kingfishers flitting around on arrival so I decided to just wait adjacent to a perch they left. 47 mins later one, a female returned to pose for me. After a short while however a Clamorous Reed Warbler decided he wanted the same space. The interaction between the two species was interesting neither would give way until in frustration the Kingfisher gave up and flew to a less productive fishing perch around the corner.

Kingfisher
Kingfisher

Kingfisher interacts with a Clamorous Reed Warbler
Kingfisher and Clamorous Reed Warbler

Kingfisher gives up and moves on
Kingfisher

Clamorous Reed Warbler the victor
Clamorous Reed Warbler

Black-headed Gulls by the beach full south of Askar
Black-headed Gulls

Eastern European - Siberian Gulls filled any vacant spaces not filled by the Black-headed gulls
Siberian Gulls

Glossy Ibis
Glossy Ibis

Great White Egret
Great White Egret

one of our wintering Marsh Harriers spent a unfruitful half hour or so hunting the marsh
Marsh Harrier

Moorhen always around always watching
Moorhen

Pair of Palm or more properly Laughing Doves
Palm or Laughing Doves

Grey Heron so many they are hard to ignore
Grey Heron

always around any brackish margins Temmincks Stint
Temmincks Stint

Caspian Tern currently breeding but get to close to a nest they can be rather aggressive otherwise will fly above to check you out
Caspian Tern

Which bring me onto Friday - Had intended an early start but got way-layed after finding two young local photographers at Adhari. I spent far too long chatting to get the early birds and ended up only with another stone chat, no regrets however loved their enthusiasm will take them out next weekend with me. I decided to pop in to the outfall at Ras Tubli and that proved so much better than anticipated even though the tide was out. It is one of those sites that a 3/4 tide is best.

Stonechat
Stonechat

At Tubli several Garganey were easily found but surprisingly that day no Teal with them or Mallard for that matter
Garganey

One of many Shoveller they will venture way out into the open bay
Shoveller

Squacco Heron foun d along the back ditch, a fresh water drain outfall is always an interesting to look
Squacco Heron

Was watching this Western Reef Herons heron when he disturbed the bird of the weekend
Western Reef Herons

The over zealous charging about antics of the Western Reef thankfully were too much for the tiny in comparison Striated Heron to bare
Striated Heron disturbed by WRH

I hadn't noticed the Striated Heron crouched very low and hardly moving in its favoured fishing mode - this is probably only the 6th record for Bahrain. Although now having watched one for several hours, I know only too well now how easy it is to overlook or miss the species entirely.
Striated Heron disturbed by WRH

Striated Heron disturbed by WRH

Striated Heron disturbed by WRH

Striated Heron disturbed by WRH

Striated Heron disturbed by WRH

Permalink

2016-11-05

Hypocolius to Socotra Cormorant - a great week end

Permalink 16:03:59, Categories: Observation by Howard  

Some weekends just turn out great even when not expected to be so. The forecast was for a shammal - strong winds and dust but despite some windy moments it never really mounted to anything enabling me to get two key observational elements under my belt. The first quantitative numbers for the Hypocolius at Jasra and the second to check on the breeding status of the Socotra Cormorant on Hawar. I have been out around Hawar recently chasing Dugong without much success; they are there in good numbers but at times remain elusive. But on this occasion it was the cormorant Colony on Hawar that was my focus of attention - a pending shammal was the last thing I needed.

I had hoped to get to Hawar on Friday but never even made the jetty we cancelled early the forecast had been that bad, thus at the crack of dawn 5-30 I was out to Jasra to count Hypocolius. Photography as usual was difficult. The rising sun doesn't help, the birds always managed to display on a bush or tree in the suns direction, I doesn't seem to matter where you decided to wait out their arrival the best visuals are always that direction. I was surprised to find a good number of birds already in situ on arrival just before six, suggesting it is more than a stopover. It could be a minor evening roost. By seven I had counted 218 birds when it went quiet however another large flock of fresh birds dropped in just as I was about to leave around 7:10. Given the direction of their arrival I think I know where they had roosted; will check that out another time. They didn't stay long but I estimate that they numbered over a 100 birds. 300 plus Hypocolius at what is a basically a stopover point is a good way to start any weekend. Friends passed the site at 8 and found but 5 birds so feel confident with the a number of around 325.

Hypocolius
Hypocolius

Hypocolius

Hypocolius

Hypocolius

Hypocolius

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

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater

Curlew those at Hamalah fodder fields have increased to 5
Curlew

Desert Wheatear at Hamalah
Desert Wheatear

Desert Wheatear

Pied Wheatear a lot more still hanging in there normally most have disappeared by now
Pied Wheatear

Pied Wheatear

Pied Wheatear

White-cheeked Bulbul
White-cheeked Bulbul

Red-vented Bulbul
Red-vented Bulbul

Skylark have stated to arrive
Skylark

Skylark

Water Pipit just a few but obvious by their dark legs
Water Pipit

Tawny Pipit numbers continue to increase
Tawny Pipit

Stonechat still only 3 at Hamalah
Stonechat

Swallow when they start settling like this you know the big off is not that far away
Swallow

Swallow

So on to the my quick visit to Hawar and the Socotra Cormorant colony now on the Rubuds. One thing people need to realize is that the cormorants time their breeding season to the arrival of the sardine? schools which in itself brings in other larger potential food fish. So the Birds start to breed some time normally from late September the first chicks hatch just as the bait size fish schools start appearing. These pics were from at the jetty taken before we left a good indicator of the size of the potential food available to the sea birds.

sprats - sardines types

sprats - sardines types

sprats - sardines types

I expected to find a good cross section of birds at the colony - I was not disappointed it was as expected two to three week old chicks aplenty forming up in creches , birds on the periphery excavating so about to start and plenty of tiny heads popping up indicating freshly hatched chicks. I did not approach too close to the colony but observed them from a distance with my bins - the pics were taken with the long lens. Not the best but good indicators of the colony status, the task in hand. The breeding areas are used still maintain the integrity of three separate elements; the largest is in the center of the Island the other two on a spit of slightly sandier substrate that form a ridge that runs to the north east corner. How long this will remain so is hard to predict as the chicks become mobile. Rubud Ash Sharqiyah (East) virtual disappears at times with the highest seasonal tides particularly when these occur when a shammal is blowing.

Socotra Cormorants
Socotra Cormorants

Socotra Cormorants

Socotra Cormorants

Socotra Cormorants

Socotra Cormorants

Socotra Cormorants

Socotra Cormorants

Socotra Cormorants

Socotra Cormorants

Socotra Cormorants

Permalink

2016-10-29

The hot weather continues possibly affecting migration

Permalink 15:53:22, Categories: Observation by Howard  

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.

Hypocolius
Hypocolius

Hypocolius

Hypocolius

Hypocolius

Hypocolius

Clamorous Reed Warbler now a resident breeding species
Clamorous Reed Warbler

Clamorous Reed Warbler

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater a steady passage but overall small in comparison to other years
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater

Bee-eater a disappointing show
Bee-eater

1st year Citrine Wagtail fast becoming a rarity
Citrine Wagtail

Curlew despite the hundreds around our shores only now has the one become two at Hamalah
Curlew

Curlew

Isabelline Shrike a species bucking the trend - good numbers this year here 3 of the 5 at Hamalah
Isabelline Shrike

Isabelline Shrike

Isabelline Shrike

Isabelline Wheatear reasonable numbers
Isabelline Wheatear

Stonechat just beginning to arrive in any real numbers
Stonechat

White Wagtail just the odd one or two normally we have hundreds
White Wagtail

Woodchat Shrike
Woodchat Shrike

Pied Wheatear
Pied Wheatear

Pied Wheatear

Wood Sandpiper
Wood Sandpiper

Cattle Egrets now a substantial breeding species
Cattle Egrets

Little Grebe like many resident breeding species it has been a good year
Little Grebe

No shortage on the shore thankfully of our regular species other than Spoonbills and Marsh Sandpiper - Back-headed Gull - one of thousands
Black-headed Gull

Gull-billed Tern
Gull-billed Tern

Mallard an unusual sight to behold at Hamalah - a fodder farm
Mallard

Mallard

Common Mynah an escaped species reaching almost plague proportions in some areas
Common Mynah

Namaqua Dove
Namaqua Dove

Temmink's Stint
Temmink's Stint

Permalink

2016-10-22

Quiet weekend - as temperatures remain high

Permalink 14:54:21, Categories: Observation by Howard  

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
Marsh Harrier

the right hand bird
Marsh Harrier

Marsh Harrier

Marsh Harrier

Marsh Harrier

Marsh Harrier

The left hand bird
Marsh Harrier

Marsh Harrier

Marsh Harrier

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater only a few seen today
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater

Isabelline Shrike one of five or six wintering at Hamalah now
Isabelline Shrike

White-throat this one was in my own garden - pic taken through the window - one of many seen
White-throat

Permalink

2016-10-15

The hot weather continues passage in parts slows

Permalink 15:13:19, Categories: Observation by Howard  

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.

Desert Warbler
Desert Warbler

Desert Wheatear
Desert Wheatear

Desert Wheatear

Isabelline Shrike
Isabelline Shrike

Isabelline Shrike

Isabelline Shrike

Isabelline Shrike

Lesser Kestrel
Lesser Kestrel

Lesser Kestrel

Lesser Kestrel

Lesser Kestrel

Lesser Whitethroat
Lesser Whitethroat

Lesser Whitethroat

Lesser Whitethroat

Masked Shrike 1st winter
Masked Shrike

Masked Shrike

Mourning Wheatear
Mourning Wheatear

Ortolan Bunting
Ortolan Bunting

Pied Wheatear
Pied Wheatear

Pied Wheatear

Red-throated Pipit
Red-throated Pipit

Short-toed Lark
Short-toed Lark

Spotted Flycatcher
Spotted Flycatcher

Squacco Heron
Squacco Heron

Stonechat
Stonechat

Stonechat

Swallow
Swallow

Tawny Pipit
Tawny Pipit

Waxbill
Waxbill

White Wagtail
White Wagtail

Wood Sandpiper
Wood sandpiper

Yellow Wagtail
Yellow Wagtail

Yellow Wagtail

Yellow Wagtail

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

Crested Lark
Crested Lark

Great Reed Warbler
Great Reed Warbler

Bar-tailed Godwit
Bar-tailed Godwit

Greater Sand Plover
Greater Sand Plover

Grey Plover
Grey Plover

Gulls
Gulls

Lesser Sand Plover
Lesser Sand Plover

Purple Heron
Purple Heron

Redshank
Redshank

Ringed Plover
Ringed Plover

Western Reef Heron
Western Reef Heron

Dunlin and a single Broad-billed Sandpiper
Dunlin

Permalink

2016-10-08

A really strange Weekend

Permalink 16:30:59, Categories: Observation by Howard  

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
Socotra Cormorant

Socotra Cormorant

Socotra Cormorant

Socotra Cormorant

Socotra Cormorant

Orphean Warbler from Busaiteen the only Warbler that hung around
Orphean Warbler

Pied Wheatear probably the most numerous Wheatear coming ashore at Busaiteen
Pied Wheatear

Pied Wheatear

Pied Wheatear

Pied Wheatear

Isabelline Wheatear at Busaiteen
Isabelline Wheatear

Isabelline Wheatear

Isabelline Wheatear

Isabelline Shrike on the shore
Isabelline Shrike

Isabelline Shrike

Isabelline Shrike

Desert Wheatear on the shore
Desert Wheatear

Desert Wheatear

Desert Warbler
Desert Warbler

Desert Warbler

Desert Warbler

Spotted Fly Catcher
Spotted Fly Catcher

Spotted Fly Catcher

Spotted Fly Catcher

Clamourous Reed Warbler a now resident breeder this one from Adhari ditches
Clamourous Reed Warbler

Cattle Egrets
Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

Southern Red Bishop from Adhari - an escape still going strong
Southern Red Bishop

Southern Red Bishop

Short Toed Lark
Short Toed Lark

Ringed Plover at the chick farm Hamalah with -
Ringed Plover

Turnstone
Turnstone

and Black-winged Stilt
Black-winged Stilt

Permalink

2016-10-02

Long Weekend dust variable winds - Good Birds

Permalink 03:06:20, Categories: Observation by Howard  

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.

Arctic Skua
Arctic Skua

Desert Warbler
Desert Warbler

Rock Thrush - a good and sizeable passage
Rock Thrush

Rock Thrush

Rock Thrush

Rock Thrush

Isabelline Wheatear - so many they are hard to count
Isabelline Wheatear

Pied Wheatear
Pied Wheatear

Collared Pratincole
Pratincole

Pratincole

Pallid Harrier
Pallid Harrier

Pallid Harrier

Marsh Harrier
Marsh Harrier

Great Grey Shrike
Great Grey Shrike

Great Grey Shrike

Great Grey Shrike

Great Grey Shrike

Isabelline Shrike
Isabelline Shrike

Isabelline Shrike

Isabelline Shrike

Woodchat Shrike
Woodchat Shrike

Ortolan Bunting
Ortolan Bunting

Ortolan Bunting

Barn Swallow
Barn Swallow

Yellow Wagtail
Yellow Wagtail

Yellow Wagtail

Bar-tailed Godwit
Bar-tailed Godwit

Permalink

2016-09-13

September migration pace quickens but hot weather conts.

Permalink 22:06:16, Categories: Observation by Howard  

Have been rather busy at work preparing for an exhibit on the Sustainable development Goals for viewing at the UN in NY
So this is a multiple date posting basically from the beginning of the month til present.

Bee-eater - a variable passage so far
Bee-eater

Bee-eater

Cream-coloured Courser a single bird seen stayed for two weeks at Hamalah
Cream-coloured Courser

Curlew this bird moved into Hamalah fields last week - it will most probably winter there
Curlew

Diamond Dove one of a small flock encountered at Hamalah - indicating possible local breeding
Diamond Dove

Egyptian Nightjar - still present during the day at its little hideaway
Egyptian Nightjar

Short-toed Lark sizeable flocks passing with a few lesser mixed it
Short-toed Lark

Short-toed Lark

Great Grey Shrike tremendous variety shown in birds seen which can be either residential or passage migrants
Great Grey Shrike

Great Grey Shrike

Great Grey Shrike

Great Grey Shrike

Woodchat Shrike a long passage now slowed but dozens of individual birds seen over this period
Woodchat Shrike

Woodchat Shrike

Woodchat Shrike

Woodchat Shrike

Isabelline Shrike
Isabelline Shrike

Isabelline Shrike

Lesser Grey Shrike a brief passage last week - not seen after thus far
Lesser Grey Shrike

Lesser Grey Shrike

Grey Francolin everywhere town, gardens, desert, - you name they have colonised it
Grey Francolin

Indian House Crow regarded as a pest culls seem to been ineffective
Indian House Crow

Indian House Crow

Indian Silver bills
Indian Silver bill

Indian Silver bill

Isabelline Wheatear excellent numbers more moving into their winter quarters all the time
Isabelline Wheatear

Isabelline Wheatear

Of uncertain vintage?
Isabelline Wheatear

Mourning Wheatear
Mourning Wheatear

Northern Wheatear
Northern Wheatear

Northern Wheatear

Pied Wheatear
Pied Wheatear

once landed
Pied Wheatear

Pied Wheatear

Little Stint the odd bird or two will visit agricultural land through the winter
Little Stint

Namaqua Dove
Namaqua Dove

Namaqua Dove

Ortolan Bunting
Ortolan Bunting

Collared Pratincole stayed a couple of weeks before moving on - not seen this week
Pratincole

Pratincole

Red Avadavat rare local breeder
Red Avadavat

Roller one of two that are still hanging around Hamalah several weeks after arriving
Roller

Rufous Bushchat some of many now very visible prior to departing after summer breeding here
Rufous Bushchat

Rufous Bushchat

With many Swallows Sand and House Martin dipping this puddle to drink - managed to get some lucky shots -

Spotted Flycatcher - so many this year
Spotted Flycatcher

Spotted Flycatcher

Spanish Sparrow

Tawny Pipit
Tawny Pipit

Tawny Pipit

Turtle Dove
Turtle Dove

White-cheeked Bulbul
White-cheeked Bulbul

Common White-throat
White-throat

White-throat

Yellow Wagtail a bigger selection seen than photographed
Yellow Wagtail

Yellow Wagtail

Yellow Wagtail

Cattle Egret

Permalink

2016-08-28

A great weekend - migration return wait over

Permalink 14:36:58, Categories: Observation by Howard  

It started as just another hot and humid late August morning but by the time I had returned home on Friday I knew that it had been a rather special day. It wasn't so much that I had seen a good number of returning species it was the fact that I had been able to get some reasonable photographs of species I had not expected so early on in the season. Then there was Saturday had an meeting on Hawar with potential developers, can say openly and honestly I gave them a hard time. I most certainly left them with food for thought. However what made the day worthwhile was our return encounter with a sizeable Socotra Cormorant fishing party there were 10 of thousands moving along the shore close to Durat as we got nearly home. Sadly the camera played up misting lens and lack of space on the dicc didn't help but I did manage a few decent shots.


Egyptian Nightjar - the last time I encountered one in the day time I didn't have my camera so this was a joy to take
Egyptian Nightjar

Bee-eater one of many seen
Bee-eater

Citrine Wagtail a real surprise
Citrine Wagtail

Yellow Wagtail a good number around
Yellow Wagtail

Yellow Wagtail

Cream-coloured Courser a regular August species from post-breeding dispersal in Arabia major
Cream-coloured Courser

Cream-coloured Courser

Isabelline Wheatear always one of the first back to take up winter residence - many seen
Isabelline Wheatear

Isabelline Wheatear

Green Sandpiper and with a couple of Pratincole's in the frame
Green Sandpiper

Green Sandpiper one singled out
Green Sandpiper

Juvenile Pratincole
Juvenile Pratincole

Juvenile Pratincole

Roller finishing a meal
Roller

Ruff few seen of what I assume to be several family parties
Ruff

Ruff

Rufous Bushchat nice to see one of many summer breeding visitors
Rufous Bushchat

Socotra Cormorant
Socotra Cormorant

a tiny franction of the fishing foray more images to come
Socotra cormorants

Permalink

2016-08-21

Weather still extreme at 40c'+ with very high humidity

Permalink 15:12:42, Categories: Observation by Howard  

August is a month when staying at home is the best option but after an enforced layoff of a couple of weeks one has to get out - the shoreline is full of waders as more pile in to fatten up before moving on. Along with our summer breeding species any trip out can be special even spectacular.

This weekend I spent Friday on the Muharraq shore and on Saturday took a boat trip around the entire Island with friends starting and finishing at Durat - a journey that took 5 hours and covered nearly 200kms Hotter than hell but amazing to do!

Pictures this week in no particular order and not all species pointed outwher numerous are seen

Bridled Tern one of many seen on our boat trip
Bridled Tern

Broad-billed Sandpiper - large influx
Broad-billed Sandpiper

Broad-billed Sandpiper

Preening Curlew Sandpiper along with snoozing a Broad-billed Sandpiper
curlew SP and broad- billed SP

Curlew Sandpiper most numerous wader this week on the shore
Curlew Sandpiper

A solitary Dunlin lost in a flock of Curlew Sandpipers
Dunlin Curlew SP

Bar-tailed Godwit sizeable flocks seen
Bar-tailed Godwit

Bar-tailed Godwit

Greater Sand Plover
Greater Sand Plover

Greenshank
Greenshank

Gulled-billed Tern
Gulled-billed Tern

Lesser Sand Plover
Lesser Sand Plover

Lesser Sand Plover

Lesser Sand Plover

Lesser Sand Plover

Lesser Sand Plover

Little Stint
Little Stint

Little Stint

Little Stint

Little Tern
Little Tern

Mixed bag of species most prominent the Gull-billed Tern
Mixed bag of species

Mixed bag of species most prominent the Grey Plover
Mixed bag of species

Mixed bag of species

Oystercatcher in flock of Godwits
Oystercatcher

Oystercatcher

Redshank large flocks
Redshank

Ringed Plover
Ringed Plover

Socotra Cormorants
Socotra Cormorants

Terek Sandpiper
Terek Sandpiper

Terek Sandpiper with Curlew Sandplover
Terek with Curlew Sandplover

Turnstone
Turnstone

Waders spoilt for choice at many small sites on the high tide

Whimbrel
Whimbrel

White-cheeked Tern
White-cheeked Tern

White-cheeked Tern

Permalink

2016-07-18

Getting hotter as shoreline returns continue

Permalink 17:52:05, Categories: Observation by Howard  

It takes no great skill to get decent pictures of Greater Sand Plover at this time of the year, they are both numerous and very prominent on the shore besides being very easy to approach however, this situation will rapidly change as other waders start their return passage as the month progresses. Most will stay to build up body fat before moving on in a southerly direction but a surprising number will stay the duration of the winter. Just which breeding wader populations we have in the Gulf has never been scientifically proven, ringed returns have been minimal not enough even to suggest probabilities.

Greater Sand Plover
Greater Sand Plover

Greater Sand Plover

Greater Sand Plover

Kentish Plover do flock at high tide but otherwise remain paired or in family groups along the shore
Kentish Plover

Socotra Cormorant are still fairly common but birds will soon disappear to their breeding island in Hawar
Socotra Cormorant

Socotra Cormorant

Lesser Crested Tern currently only small numbers on the shore on fishing forays with breeding in full swing on offshore islands currently peaking
Lesser Crested Tern

White-cheeked Tern an opportunistic breeder on the main island now many with fully fledged and mobile chicks
numbers will dramatically increase as they are joined by offshore breeding populations
White-cheeked Tern

White-cheeked Tern

White-cheeked Tern

White-cheeked Tern

White-cheeked Tern

White-cheeked Tern

Curlew Sandpiper now returning in increasing numbers
Curlew Sandpiper

Curlew Sandpiper

Curlew Sandpiper

Curlew now a prominent species with a dramatic increase in numbers this last week
Curlew

Curlew

Curlew

Curlew

Curlew

Curlew

Bar-tailed Godwit small flocks seen expect more to arrive anytime soon
Bar-tailed Godwit

Bar-tailed Godwit

Greenshank starting to make a show along with the slightly more numerous Redshank
Greenshank

Redshank
Redshank

Whimbrel one of those species where some don't migrate but with more being seen migrants could be the reason for the increase
Whimbrel

Whimbrel

Western Reef Heron in the middle of their breeding cycle fishing is the most important part of their daily routine methodology used does vary
Western Reef Heron

Reef Heron and Redshank share the shore
reef heron

Curlew and Redshank
Curlew

Terek Sandpiper first returns just being noted
Terek Sandpiper

As always we have our more common species keeping every neighborhood company
White-cheeked Bulbul
White-cheeked Bulbul

Crested Lark
Crested Lark

and then the oddities like this resident breeding Alexandrine Parakeet
Alexandrine Parakeet

Permalink

2016-06-26

Locally breeding species and the first migrant returns

Permalink 17:31:29, Categories: Observation by Howard  

Is is that time of the year again to check regularly for locally breeding birds particularly in and around our few wetland sites, one never knows what will turn up there - and then there is the shore - to check for breeding species and the first returning waders. Elsewhere there is still plenty of time to go before first records of the passerines will start showing up mixing with those locally breeding species but still a lot of ground to cover in the meantime often with little in return. Can be more a question often of glimpsed or heard, rather than fully observed.

Black-crowned Night Heron a very visible day time species at the moment making observations quite easy
Black-crowned Night Heron

One of many juvenile birds seen note a young bird the eye has yet to turn orange/red
Black-crowned Night Heron

Black-winged Stilt an early breeder in April and May
Black-winged Stilt

Kentish Plover Chick smallest youngest seen most probably from a second brood
Kentish Plover Chick

Lesser Crested Tern just started breeding currently on offshore Islands
Lesser Crested Tern

Little Grebe juvenile this one independent and well developed but others still still dependent on adults
Little Grebe juvenile

Little Grebe juvenile

Little Grebe juvenile

Little Grebe juvenile

Little Grebe juvenile

Little Tern Chick breeding more wide spread this year
Little Tern Chick

Little Tern Chick

Little Tern

Little Tern

Saunders's Tern breeds slightly earlier than Little - chicks far more advanced
Saunders's Tern

Saunders's Tern juvenile

Socotra Cormorant will start breeding in late September on Hawar here a first year bird
Socotra Cormorant

Socotra Cormorant

Squacco Heron - breeding well advanced one fledged chick seen so far
Squacco Heron

White-cheeked Tern breeding season well advanced not fussy about habitat for breeding any quiet corner near the shore will do
White-cheeked Tern

Western Reef Heron extensive season well underway breeding in mangrove on coastal scrub, bushes and even trees
Western Reef Heron

Returns on the shore
Greater Sand Plover return increasing
Greater Sand Plover

Interesting picture - extreme left locally breeding Kentish Plover and on the hard right a Lesser Sand Plover - central birds all Greater Sands
Mixed Plovers

Lesser Sand Plover (hard right)
Lesser Sand Plover
Some of the central birds
Greater Sand Plover

Greater Sand Plover post breeding molt starting
Greater Sand Plover molt

Greater Sand Plover molt

Dunlin a very early arrival
Dunlin

Dunlin

Ragged yet very interesting 2nd year birds - have they been somewhere and returned or have Black Headed Gulls breed locally
Black Headed Gull

Black Headed Gull

Black Headed Gull

Permalink

2016-06-10

getting hotter but strong winds bring sand

Permalink 20:22:30, Categories: Observation by Howard  

As each week passes we see a noticeable increase in daily temperatures, already some days have hit the 42c mark but we have been let of the hook this last week with persisting strong Al Bareh winds and widespread sandstorms which has kept of late temps down below 40c. It won't last of course humidity will steadily increase as well and soon we will be registering apparent temps in the 50c plus range. Then its time to take some leave.

Not much in fact very little to report from the gardens and desert spaces nothing worthy of note seen to report. On the shore its getting busy again as our first returns arrive back. The few summering waders - a few Curlew, Turnstone, Godwits, Green and Redshank, Ringed Plover - have been joined by Greater Sand Plover mostly adults and many showing still plenty of colour. Terns are as usual plentiful with Saunders's, little, White-cheeked, breeding locally occasionally joined by Lesser Crested which breed on offshore Islands. No Bridled Terns seen also an offshore breeder yet on the main Island but that will change towards the end of their season in late August beginning of September. Small flocks of Caspian Tern can also be found watched carefully by our locally breeding pairs who maintain their territorial vigilance in any quiet corner of the shoreline. They will breed from Late September early October. Western Reef Herons with their offspring are now also noticeable on the shore.

Curlew
Curlew

Curlew

Redshank
Redshank

Caspian Terns
Caspian Terns

Kentish Plover
Kentish Plover

Kentish Plover

Kentish Plover

Saunders's Tern
Saunders's Tern

Saunders Tern chick
Saunders's Tern Chick

Lesser Crested Tern
Lesser Crested Tern

Socotra Cormorant
Socotra Cormorant

White-cheeked Tern
White-cheeked Tern

Western Reef Heron
Western Reef Heron

Greater Sand Plover
Greater Sand Plover

Greater Sand Plover

Greater Sand Plover

Greater Sand Plover

Greater Sand Plover

Greater Sand Plover

Greater Sand Plover

Greater Sand Plover

Permalink

2016-05-21

Little to add to a slow month where are the birds

Permalink 15:05:31, Categories: Observation by Howard  

Have not had a great deal of time to bird this month, but then again the month has been really disappointing - where are the birds well at least certain species like Golden Oriole - the answer probably hunted to virtual extinction as far as we are concerned by rampant shooting in Saudi and Kuwait. Not a single Marsh, Garden or Savi's Warbler either when in the past they have been so numerous climate change or what something is affecting the normal flow. I can only hope for a more productive return later in the year.

Roller ONE OF ONE SEEN
Roller

Spotted Flycatcher one species that was more numerous than in other years this one in my Garden
Spotted Flycatcher

Willow Warbler numbers steady
Willow Warbler

Red-backed Shrike a long stayer this one has been at Hamalah nearly a month GOOD NUMBERS too probably since it passes late after the hunting season has largely finished due to the heat - there is minimal hunting of birds in Bahrain Kestrels and a few casual birds only make the pet shops - still pushing for this to be stopped
Red-backed Shrike

Socotra Cormorants plenty of action though from resident birds at sea
Socotra Cormorants

Socotra Cormorants

Socotra Cormorants

Out on the fish traps plenty of action to watch thankfully
Water birds

some late birds passing were a solitary Kestrel
Kestrel

and a Swallow
Swallow

Permalink

2016-05-07

May already migration slows only late birds left

Permalink 00:53:02, Categories: Observation by Howard  

May and things have definitely gone quieter species are still passing but numbers are much reduced


Red-backed Shrike
Red-backed Shrike

Red-backed Shrike

Lesser Grey Shrike
Lesser Grey Shrike

Lesser Grey Shrike

Clamorous Reed Warbler as noisy as ever
Clamorous Reed Warbler

Great Reed Warbler
Great Reed Warbler

Great White Egret
Great White Egret

Hoopoe one of resident breeding birds
Hoopoe

House Sparrow one of the thousands seen on a daily basis
House Sparrow

Indian House Crow
Indian House Crow

Kentish Plover Chick one of many seen
Kentish Plover Chick

Little Bittern
Little Bittern

Little Grebe Chick
Little Grebe
the tending parent
Little Grebe

Moorhen feeding chick
Moorhen and chick

Black-crowned Night Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron

Male Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush
Male Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush

Female Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush
Male Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush

Rufous Bush Chat
Rufous Bush Chat

Feral breeding Sacred Ibis
Sacred Ibis

Spotted Flycatcher
Spotted Flycatcher

Spotted Flycatcher

White-throat
White-throat

Willow Warbler
Willow Warbler

Permalink

2016-04-29

Strange weather dull and overcast but quiet

Permalink 00:04:35, Categories: Observation by Howard  

when the weather is unexpected cooler one hopes for a busy day but sadly nothing unexpected was found still happy with what I got


Rufous Bushchat looks like it could be a record breeding year for Bushchats they are everywhere
Rufous Bushchat

Great Grey Shrike a juvenile wearing sticky seed for a head band
Great Grey Shrike

Lesser Grey Shrike still fairly numerous
Lesser Grey Shrike

Lesser Grey Shrike

Whinchat
Whinchat

Juvenile Palm Dove
Palm Dove

Waders big decrease in numbers
Waders

Permalink

2016-04-23

Seems like summer already

Permalink 19:31:51, Categories: Admin - Howard King  

even though we keep having some unseasonable days weather wise it is quickly going quiet as temperature warm up

Lesser Grey Shrike a few around
Lesser Grey Shrike

Red-backed Shrike a slow passage
Red-backed Shrike

Red-backed Shrike

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler the first of our summer breeders
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler

Whinchat still passing
Whinchat

Turtle Dove resident
Turtle Dove

Lutea - Yellow Wagtail still a huge variety
Lutea - Yellow Wagtail

Red-throated Pipit remains very common across a variety of habitats
Red-throated Pipit

Red-throated Pipit

Spotted Flycatcher one of many
Spotted Flycatcher

A quick trip to Hawar on Saturday to check arrivals only brought out a resident Osprey
Osprey

Permalink

2016-04-17

wild and windy weather

Permalink 20:03:25, Categories: Observation by Howard  

Heavy thunderstorms and lightning Thursday evening, tempered the weekends expectations however disappointing Friday was Saturday more than made up for that with some excellent birding. Excess water in parts of the south restricted movement along some of the desert tracks so it proved impossible to fully check the south and east of the Island. One unusual observation was the massive number of Isabelline Shrikes that had moved in on our wintering birds habitat; where we had observed 2 or 3 wintering sometimes over a dozen birds this weekend occupied the same space, an amazing site.

Species of the weekend has to be the White-throated Robins 4 were seen at Buri alone.
White-throated Robin

White-throated Robin

Whinchat
Whinchat

Whinchat

Redstart
Redstart

Redstart

Redstart

Ortolan Bunting
Ortolan Bunting

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

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater

Grey Wagtail
Grey Wagtail

Isabelline Shrike
Isabelline Shrike

Kestrel
Kestrel

Lesser Kestrel
Lesser Kestrel

Red-throated Pipit
Red-throated Pipit

Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush

Willow Warbler
Willow Warbler

Permalink

2016-04-02

Busy weekend despite weather

Permalink 22:09:22, Categories: Observation by Howard  

A lot about these last two weekend spent time on the shore and working some of our garden and wetland sites

Night Heron
Night Heron

Black-winged Stilt
Black-winged Stilt

common Sandpiper
common Sandpiper

Northern Wheatear
Northern Wheatear

Pratincole
Pratincole

Squacco Heron
Squacco Heron

Chiffchaff
Chiffchaff

Spotted Flycatcher
Spotted Flycatcher

Spotted Flycatcher

Spotted Flycatcher

Willow Warbler
Willow Warbler

Willow Warbler

Willow Warbler

Willow Warbler

Willow Warbler

Woodchat Shrike
Woodchat Shrike

Isabelline Shrike
Isabelline Shrike

Yellow Wagtail leucocephala
leucocephala

yellow Wagtail bemma
Bemma

Yellow Wagtail fledegg
fledegg

Yellow Wagtail lutea
Lutea

Yellow Wagtail flava
flava

Wryneck
Wryneck

Red-throated Pipit
Red-throated Pipit

Redstart
Redstart

Grey Francolin
Grey Fancolin

Greater Short-toed Lark
Greater Short-toed Lark

Rufous Bushchat
Rufous Bushchat

Broad-billed Sandpiper
Broad-billed Sandpiper

Lesser Sand Plover

Greater Sand Plover
Greater Sand Plover

Greater Sand Plover

Little Stint
Little Stint

Grey Plover
Grey Plover

Green Shank
Green Shank

Lesser Sand plover with Curlew Sandpiper
Lesser Sand plover and Curlew Sandpiper

Dunlin in flight
Dunlin in flight

Curlew Sandpiper
Curlew Sandpiper

Bartailed Godwits
Bartailed  Godwits

Gull-billed Terns
Gull-billed Terns

Ringed Plover
Ringed Plover

Turnstone
Turnstone

Whimbrel
Whimbrel

Permalink

2016-03-27

the Weather - certainly has changed

Permalink 14:08:01, Categories: Observation by Howard  

Migration continues to be slow but the weather hasn't helped with strong winds and heavy rain showers that are forecast to continue into next month.

Common Sandpiper always easy to find and photograph
Common Sandpiper

Corn Bunting still a few around
Corn Bunting

Little Bittern
Little Bittern

Northern Wheatear
Northern Wheatear

Permalink

2016-03-19

A pleasant weekend of migrants

Permalink 14:43:26, Categories: Observation by Howard  

Having been out of action for two months it was nice to get back to my usual Bahrain weekend routine of birds birds and yet more birds. Managed to photograph most of the migrant species seen other than some elusive Chiffchaff but the best surprise was the number of Grey Hypocolius still around at Jasra - I counted over a hundred at first light around 6am on Friday morning.


Hypocolius
Hypocolius

Hypocolius

Hypocolius

Desert Warbler
Desert Warbler

Pied Wheatear
Pied Wheatear

Rufous Tailed Rock Thrush
Rufous Tailed Rock Thrush

Siberian Stonechat
Stonechat

Woodchat Shrike
Woodchat shrike

Woodchat shrike

Yellow Wagtail - Fledegg
Yellow Wagtail

Yellow Wagtail - Flava - dombrowski ?
Yellow Wagtail

White Wagtail
White Wagtail

Isabelline Shrike - such variety
Isabelline Shrike

Isabelline Shrike

Isabelline Shrike

Isabelline Shrike

Isabelline Wheatear
Isabelline Wheatear

Eastern Nightingale
Nightingale

Nightingale

Nightingale

Permalink

2016-01-17

A quiet return but rarities add spice

Permalink 15:43:12, Categories: Observation by Howard  

Returned from a washed out Christmas and New Year break in the UK to the much warmer climate of Bahrain even if at times it is a little breezy. Not a lot new around species wise but a few rarities did brighten things up.

While I was away a Linnet was found and photographed in Jid Ali by several people will put those in December obs while a male Chaffinch turned up at Hamalah to keep the female first seen there in December company.

Chaffinch
Chaffinch

The pair
Chaffinch

Female
Chaffinch

Bluethroat
Bluethroat

Ist winter Red-throated Pipit
Red-throated Pipit

Corn Bunting one of many
Corn Bunting

Water Pipit
Water Pipit

Skylarks are everywhere
Skylark

Stonechat
Stonechat

Stonechat

Stonechat

Siberian Stonechat female
Stonechat

Siberian Stonechat male
Stonechat

Desert Wheatear
Desert Wheatear

Isabelline Wheatear
Isabelline Wheatear

Namaqua Dove
Namaqua Dove

Isabelline Shrike
Isabelline Shrike

Kestrel
Kestrel

Marsh Harrier
Marsh Harrier

Tawny Pipit
Tawny Pipit

White Wagtail
White Wagtail

Crested Lark
Crested Lark

Permalink

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