It had been months since I headed to the oasis farm at Al-Abraq, so this morning I was dressed warmly as the temperature was around 1 degree when I arrived just before 7am in the morning.
A Mistle Thrush had been reported here a few days back and that was my target species. This oasis can be hit and miss for the long drive, but today I wasnt disapointed - especially as the first bird I found was a Goldfinch and a new bird for me, which was chased off by a territorial Water Pipit before I could get my camera on it.
I was alerted by the call of a European Robin and eventually got onto it - I still find it surreal to see this bird in a desert, when we are so used to seeing it depicted on Christmas cards sitting on a tree covered in snow
|European Robin (Erithacus rubecula)|
I also found this quite 'cold' coloured Chiffchaff, but photographed against the sun - not sure what sub-specie it may be?
|Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)|
However, I did eventually get onto the Mistle Thrush, although it was very wary of me in the car, but not of the workers in the field.
|Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus)|
The Mistle Thrush was certainly much bigger and paler (almost like a Rosy Starling from behind) than the many Song Thrushes that were about
|Song Thrush spooked by a White Wagtail (Turdus philomelos)|
Another Flycatcher had us debating the ID for quite sometime after I had shared the images with fellow birders as it showed features of both Red-breasted Fly and Taiga Flycatcher. However, after careful scrutiny we had consensus that it was Red-breasted Flycatcher and possibly a 2nd year bird.
|Red-breasted Flycatcher (Ficedula parva)|
By now it was time to head to the next site, stopping only for this Masked Shrike still huddled on a branch trying to keep warm
|Masked Shrike (Lanius nubicus)|
|Winter desert camp|
|Macqueens Bustard (Chlamydotis macqueenii)|
|Non-breeding Marsh Sandpiper (Tringa Stagnatilis)|
|Male Gadwall with Coot (Anas strepera)|
|Female Gadwall (Anas strepera)|
|Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)|
|Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra)|
|White-tailed Lapwing (Vanellus leucurus)|
|1st year Little Crake (Porzana parva)|
The Pallid Swifts were hawking low over the water in the wind and using my older 20D and 400mm I tried to track them in flight. It was only then I realised how Autofocus technology had changed for the better between the 20D and 50D
|Pallid Swift (Apus pallidus)|