11 March 2013

The reeds are alive with the sound of song

Week 10, 05 March 2013 - Jahra Pools Reserve (Click to enlarge image)

I was able to get out to Jahra Pools Reserve for a few hours on a gorgeous pre-Spring morning and for the first time in many, many months was able to enjoy the cacophony of melodious song coming from the reedbeds. Warblers had now arrived! I don't know if other birders are the same, but are we habitual in following the same routes around a patch each time we visit?

This morning I broke that habit and tried a different route, but don't believe it really made any difference though, however I did find two Little Crake foraging in a quiet, dark and rather a smelly pool.

Little Crake (Porzana parva)

I sat quietly at a reed patch that was particularly vocal, but only managed to get proper views of another displaying Graceful Prinia

Male Graceful Prinia (Prinia gracilis) displaying

However, my patience was rewarded when I was finally able to coax out a singing Savi's Warbler with a bit of phishing and have it sing back to me. No, phishing is not the sound of a fluid stream hitting the ground, but rather some odd noise us birders make without spitting, to entice birds to come out of cover and investigate who is making this ridiculous sound. This should only be done in the company of other birders, otherwise you may be mistaken  for someone who is a little odd.

Secretive Savi's Warbler (Locustella luscinioides)

In full song
A couple of Pied Wheatear's were present in the desert area away from the water

Male Pied Wheatear (Oenanthe pleschanka)

Although I have seen this species at JPR before, a Great Black-headed Gull is still a little of a surprise on an inland pool.

Great Black-headed Gull (Larus ichthyaetus)

White Wagtail numbers are starting to dwindle, but now most have now transformed into their breeding plumage 

White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)
As have the few Water Pipits that are left

Water Pipit (Anthus spinoletta)
This Wagtail flushed with a group of White Wagtails and the first thought was an early Yellow Wagtail, however on closer inspection it turned out to be a Citrine Wagtail (see the grey back and faint black collar), although the plumage was not typical for me in terms of the breastbank markings.

Citrine Wagtail (Motacilla citreola) 

A few Siberian Stonechat's were seen, this a male and it took some time and patience to get an image of the upperparts and tail, showing the extended white rump and some white in the base of the tail feathers.

Male Siberian Stonechat (Saxicola maurus)

There were two females present, paler than the European and showing slightly longer primary projections over a pale rump.

Female Siberian Stonechat (Saxicola maurus)

Birding at JPR can only improve with the on-set of Spring and now that water appears to be permanent.

Over the weekend, we were out quad biking in the desert near Mutla and I found this large ant tussling with what appeared to be a large ball. On closer inspection during editing did I work out that it was the eye of a Dragonfly! Who knows where this ant was trying to take it too?

The Ant and the Dragonfly (not a children's story)

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