I have really fallen behind on my Blog posts, here we are in the middle of summer and I'm still posting about the Spring migration in April!
During spring, you have to visit the western oasis farm of Al Abraq at least a few times, as it known for turning up interesting mega's and vagrants - but at the same time, you can also come away empty handed.
Before getting to the farm, I came across this Lesser Grey Shrike sitting on a very expensive perch - a burnt out Range Rover. After catching and eating a large beetle, it retreated into the car to get out of the sun.
|Lesser Grey Shrike (Lanius minor)|
Not much further on, a Red-back Shrike put in an appearance, I included the red post, but only on processing the image realised that it is a warning sign for landmines! (UPDATE: on 05/07/14 I was back at Al Abraq and stopped to look at the rest of the sign more carefully and it is actually a warning sign for a fiber optic cable - so no danger at all).
|Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio)|
Before getting to the gate of the farm, I came across this Wood Sandpiper looking a little out of place on the desert sand
|Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola)|
|No caption required!|
Once inside, I tried to stay away from the shooters, but still had lead pellets falling on me every now and then. There was a good number of migrants about, but as can be expected most were skittish and also wisely stayed in cover.
A Common Redstart was found in the shade of a Casarina Tree
|Male Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus)|
|Male Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio)|
|Male Masked Shrike (Lanius nubicus)|
|Adult European Roller (Coracias garrulus)|
|Adult European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)|
|Lesser Whitethroat (Sylvia curruca)|
|Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)|
|Eastern Olivaceous Warbler (Iduna pallida)|
|Eurasian Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)|
|Male Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra)|
|Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis)|
|Grey-headed Wagtail (Motacilla f. thunbergi)|
|Sykes's Wagtail (Motacilla f. beema)|
|A stunning Yellow-headed Wagtail (Motacilla f. lutea) that had been wounded by the shooters|
|Not sure what colour this Wagtail is going to turn?|
|Juvenile Black Kite (Milvus migrans)|
|Dark form Booted Eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus)|
|Juvenile Steppe Buzzard (Buteo b. vulpinus)|
A variety of Western Marsh Harriers
|Sub adult male Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)|
|Female Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)|
|Female Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)|
|Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus)|
Whilst birding, I normally check for invertebrates that are about
In the Alfalfa fields, Small Cabbage Whites were enjoying the flowers
|Small Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)|
A new butterfly species for me was this Brown Playboy - interesting name for a pretty dull and innocuous butterfly
|Brown Playboy (Deudorix antalus)|
Painted Lady's are still in abundance
|Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)|
I'n not sure of the identity of this rather large Wasp
So, I headed back East marveling at the mirages on the horizon and can quite understand how these would have confused early travelers to think that water was imminent.
|Its hot out there|