14 April 2013

Spring has sprung

Week 12, 22 March 2013 - Al Abraq (Click to enlarge image)

My father-in-law was visiting us for a couple of weeks and Graham Whitehead had also made a short trip to Kuwait, so this was an ideal opportunity to head west to the oasis farm of Al Abraq to check what Spring had to offer.

Driving through the gate of the farm one could see and hear that migrants had arrived, not huge numbers yet, but good variety. Around the pool near the main house a male Common Redstart was proudly showing off his new summer plumage. The white wing patch shows that this is ssp samamisicus.

Common Redstart (Phoenicurus p. samamisicus)

In the same area one of many Semi-collared Flycatchers were seen, this male sporting a small supercilium, which does not get a mention in the field guides

Male Semi-collared Flycatcher (Ficedula semitorquata)

A small field near the pool was being harvested and many of the migrants were taking advantage of the cut crops to forage for insects, here a female Ménétriés’s Warbler

Female Ménétriés’s Warbler (Sylvia mystacea) 
A couple of Tree Pipits

Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis)

and a few sub-species of Yellow Wagtail; this is Sykes Wagtail

Sykes Wagtail (Motacilla f. beema)
and here a Black-headed Wagtail

Black-headed Wagtail (Motacilla f. feldegg)
Grey Wagtails were also seen in larger than usual numbers

Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)
Rather than drive, this time we walked all the roads around the farm and picked up a number of other species. A few Chiffchaff's still remain

Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)
Many more Common Redstarts, this male is the nominate race

Male Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus)

A European Stonechat posed perfectly in the in an area where there are more crops

Male European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)

As well as a male Siberian Stonechat

Male Siberian Stonechat (Saxicola maurus)

The only female Semi-collared Flycatcher of the morning was found in some dense cover and was not as mobile as the males seen

Female Semi-collared Flycatcher (Ficedula semitorquata)
Walking back at the pool near the entrance, I had a brief glimpse of this Warbler and am still considering options for it's id.

Warbler - id to be confirmed
Later in the morning, Blackcaps started to appear

Male Eurasian Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)
back at the pool I found this Caucasian Bluethroat (this ssp is lumped together with White-spotted Bluethroat) and this ssp was a first for me.

Caucasian Bluethroat (Luscinia s. magna)

Just before we were about to depart after a most enjoyable morning, a male Pallid Harrier drifted over our heads.

Male Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus)

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