11 March 2013

A cold day out on the water

Week 10, 07 March 2013 - Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City (Click to enlarge image)

It was hard to believe that the temperature dropped over 12 degrees from the day before when I boarded a boat to explore the lagoons and islands of the Sea City project.

Not much was to be seen on the lagoons and beaches when Spring temps were at 7 degrees at 7:30 in the morning, even the birds were taken by surprise with this sudden cold snap. Great Cormorant numbers seem to be diminishing week by week, but a Slender-billed Gull flew by the boat.

Slender-billed Gull (Chroicocephalus genei) 
As the temps warmed a little in late morning, we explored the islands and found many early Spring migrants. Shrike numbers and diversity were encouraging with 4 species seen. As KORC we are again looking into the Grey Shrike taxonomy so that we are consistent with other authorities in the naming convention. It appears to be a family that is still being debated. So, this Shrike would be Southern Grey Shrike (previously we had called it Mauryan Grey Shrike, following the OSME IOC List). If anyone has conclusive opinions on this family, please share with me.

Mauryan Grey (Lanius lahotra pallidirostris) or Southern Grey (Lanius meridionalis)
A few Daurian Shrikes were seen fleetingly as well as this Turkestan Shrike

Turkestan Shrike (Lanius phoenicuroides)
At least 3 Woodchat Shrikes were also seen and some territorial activity was observed between Woodchat and Daurian Shrikes (which had arrived earlier)

Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)
A small flock of Common Chiffchaff were seen on one of the islands

Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) 
As was a pair of Menetries Warblers, which took some patience and a lot of walking to finally get an acceptable image

Male Ménétriés’s Warbler (Sylvia mystacea)

Female Ménétriés’s Warbler (Sylvia mystacea)
I flushed an Eurasian Sparrowhawk with a full crop, breakfast to go it seems!

Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)

In the desert area with a bit of surface water, I found two Little Ringed Plovers amongst some Little Stints and an Wood Sandpiper

Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius)

Bird numbers and abundance will certainly be increasing daily as the weather and prevailing wind provides ideal conditions for the returning migrants

No comments:

Post a Comment