10 November 2013

Onward to Al Abraq

Week 44, 29 October 2013 - Al-Abraq

Following our time with the falconers, Dave and I continued to the oasis farm of Al-Abraq where we immediately noted that autumn migration is pretty much an event of the past with the number of winter species that were around.

The first bird seen as we got out of the car was a Song Thrush followed by a Red-breasted Flycatcher; one of my favourite birds.

Red-breasted Flycatcher (Ficedula parva)
Walking around the farm, Common Chiffchaff's have now replaced the Willow Warblers. 

Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)

A skulking female Common Redstart was found sitting quietly inside one of tree's 

Female Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus)
More Red-breasted Flycatchers were seen in a different area and we counted 7 individuals, which is a new Highest Daily Count.

Red-breasted Flycatcher (Ficedula parva)

A female Caspian Stonechat was seen foraging around the alfalfa fields

Female Caspian Stonechat (Saxicola m. hemprichii)
In the reeds near the entrance gate, we found a skulking warbler that proved difficult to see and photograph, I managed to get one image to confirm that it was a Moustached Warbler.

Moustached Warbler (Acrocephalus melanopogon)
Sadly there were signs of shooting again during this past migration, with quite a few raptors found dead and left on the ground. I found a Black Kite and have included it to show the dark ear coverts and 6 primary fingers which are not entirely conclusive, but are features of Black-eared Kite.

Deceased Black Kite (Milvus migrans )

Deceased Black Kite (Milvus migrans) showing 6-primary fingers
This time of the year, it is a lull between end of autumn and the start of winter, so not many more birds were to be seen. I spent a little time looking at the invertebrates and noticed that there were numerous Clouded Yellow butterflies around. It is not easy using a big prime lens and extender as a 'macro' lens, but it does the keep you far enough way not to disturb these insects.

Clouded Yellow (Colias croceus)
As well as more Seven-spot Ladybird's than I have ever seen

Seven-spot Ladybird (Coccinela septempunctata)
Last were a few diminutive Asian Grass Blue butterflies that always seem to be on the move.

Asian Grass Blue (Zizeeria karsandra)

As there was not to much else we stopped at Jahra Pools on the way home.

The most interesting observation was a pair of Little Grebe feeding some very young chicks. They must be taking advantage of the mild weather and favourable conditions to breed again this late in the year.

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) feeding young
A single Collared Pratincole was seen hawking over one of the pools

Collared Pratincole (Glareola pratincola)
Oblivious to the Pied Kingfisher sitting quite low down on a dead tree in the water.

Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis)
White Wagtails have almost completely replaced the Yellow Wagtails, although there are still a few stragglers left.

White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)
No mega's this autumn, but perhaps this coming winter might bring in some good species.

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