07 December 2011

Eid Birding

Week 45 - 07 November 2011, Jahra Pool, SAANR and Pivot Fields

We enjoyed 2-days off for Eid and I was able to get out on one of them for an enjoyable morning's birding. I chose the right day, as the day before the weather was really not great.

I headed  north up the coast and stopped off at Jahra Pools Reserve (JPR), but it was very quiet indeed - only a couple of European Stonechats were of interest.

European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)
 I didnt want to waste time working an unproductive area, so headed out to SAANR where I hadnt been for a while as we were waiting for our permits. It was a good call, as I was rewarded with a Short-eared Owl (a lifer for me) on the ridge that was flushed by a hunting Marsh Harrier. I was able to relocate it and spent a good 30-minutes with the bird as it tried to find shelter for the day, but was very alert as to what was flying around and above it.

Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)

Not quite shelter enough
Looking for more substantial shelter
 Once it was settled, I left it in peace and continued quite contented finding Desert Wheatear
Desert Wheatear (Oenanthe deserti)

and a Steppe Eagle that had roosted on the deck for the night
Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis)

and another Eurpoean Stonechat at Tuhla
European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)
From here to the Pivot Fields for the late morning to try and locate the dark-phase Long-legged Buzzard that had been here for a week or so. It is really a distinctive bird and wasnt hard to find with a little patience.

Dark Phase Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus)

Dark Phase Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus) in flight

For comparitive purposes there was also a regular Long-legged Buzzard present
Regular Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus)

Pivot Fields are always good for a variety of raptors - food, safety and high pivots for perching. I picked up another Steppe Eagle

Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis)
Common Kestrel

Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
A Montagu's Harrier cruising low over the fields

Montagu's Harrier (Circus pygargus)

Montagu's Harrier (Circus pygargus) quartering
A couple of Black Kites unsuccessfully hunting

Black Kite (Milvus migrans)
As well as the Black-winged Kite which has also been present a few days - this species is now considered an annual visitor

Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus)
As is expected this time of year, Water Pipits are still in abundance
Water Pipit (Anthus spinoletta)
I called it a day after some good birds were seen with this Green Sandpiper on the way out.

Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)


  1. Beautiful photos, as usual :-)
    Congrats on the Lifer - what a Beauty!

    Sorry about your old blog, happened to me last year :(

  2. Superb array of birds! Very jealous about the Short-eared Owl. ;)