14 May 2018

Baseball birds

Week 13; 31 March 2017 - Hunting and Equestrian Club

Whilst my son was busy with pre-match warm-ups for his Yankee Baseball team, I had a wander around the grounds finding numbers of Common Chiffchaff

Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)

and Red-throated Pipit

Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus)

Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus) not yet in summer plumage
As well as an interesting 'pale' Lesser Whitethroat that may be a candidate for Siberian race of Lesser Whitethroat? If anyone could offer an opinion, I would appreciate it.

Possible Siberian Lesser Whitethroat (Curruca curruca blythi)

Possible Siberian Lesser Whitethroat (Curruca curruca blythi)
Aside from the birds, a couple of small 'blue' butterflies that are probably Asian/Dark Grass Blues

Asian/Dark Grass Blue (Zizeeria karsandra)

Asian/Dark Grass Blue (Zizeeria karsandra)
as well as this unusual moth

Rhodometra sacraria
The gardens of the grounds had flower beds where all the flowers were in full bloom, adding a real riot of colour - but attracted little to no insects or butterflies since they are not indigenous.

A riot of colour

And to show I do support my son at baseball, here he is!

Go Yankees

Sea watching

Week 12; 24 March 2017 - Ras Salmiya (Scientific Center)

It is always worth checking for pelagic species from Ras Salmiya while you enjoy a walk along the corniche from the Scientific Center.

Before I got to the sea watching spot, I had a pleasant encounter with a stunning male Semi-collared Flycatcher. Unfortunately, due to all the pedestrian traffic, I could never really get close enough as it was fairly active.

A smart male Semi-collared Flycatcher (Ficedula semitorquata)

A single Woodchat Shrike was another early spring migrant

Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)
Once at the sea watching site, I picked a place to sit, wait and watch for birds passing by. No real pelagic species unfortunately, but there were other species to be seen. A few Continental Great Cormorants passed by

Continental Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax sinensis)
As did Caspian Gull

Caspian Gull (Larus cachinnans)
and a Heuglin's Gull

Heuglin's Gull (Larus f. heuglini)
However, the most common today were Sandwich Tern's which were quite fun to watch as they patrolled the coastline

Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis)

Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis) in for the kill

A stroll in the Park

Week 12; 23 March 2017 - Souk Sharq and Al Shaheed Park

I stopped at Souk Sharq on the way home to check around the Dhow harbour, only a Sandwich Tern against the light, so I tried the high-key treatment to see I could save it - not sure if I succeeded

Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis)
From there for a walk around the peaceful Al Shaheed Park in the late afternoon.

A couple of the resident species were seen; Eurasian Collared Dove

Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
Plenty of White-eared Bulbul's

White-eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus leucotis)
There were small number of Common Chiffchaff's which should soon be on their way

Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)
A single Caspian Stonechat

Female Caspian Stonechat (Saxicola m. variegatus)
A number of Tree Pipits foraging in the flower beds

Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis)
And a surprise Common Quail skulking in a quieter part of the Park

Common Quail (Coturnix coturnix)

Sand storm birding

Week 10; 11 March 2017 - Al Abraq and Jahra Farm

I hadn't been to Abraq in the west for quiet some time, but unfortunately once I arrived the wind really picked up and brought blowing dust which made it unpleasant to be out - but since it is a long drive, you have to make the most of it. Birds were very thin on the ground, but a fly by Pallid Harrier was welcome

A fine male Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus)
On my 2nd circuit of the farm, a small flock of Lesser Kestrels dropped in looking to roost somewhere out of the wind 

Female Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni)

Male Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni)

Male Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni)

On the way out, I found a 'pair' of Caspian Stonechat's and these were the only birds of note to be seen on the farm

Male Caspian Stonechat (Saxicola m. variegatusa)

Female Caspian Stonechat (Saxicola m. variegatusa)
I did also find this unidentified moth

Moth sp.

I made do, by photographing some of the desert plants that had sprung up with the advent of spring coming on.

Cakile Arabica

Desert Hyacinth

Plant sp.

Plant sp.
I failed to find any other birds, so called it a morning earlier than I would have normally done and headed east to Jahra Farm where it was hopefully more sheltered from the wind. 

Jahra Farm was only a little more productive with Grey Wagtail

Female Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)

Some Yellow Wagtail's

Funky Black-headed Wagtail (Motacilla f. feldegg) with an 'eyebrow' tuft
and a few Tree Pipit's

Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis)
After which I headed home, as by now I had a fine coating of dust over me, my kit and the inside of my car.