Yes, I know it is still mid-summer and the ambient temps are brutal and there shouldn't be any birds about. But as us birders know, there is always something to be seen if you make the effort, irrespective of the environmental conditions.
So it was that my alarm went off at 4am and I headed to Jahra East Outfall which is an unprotected and public site and therefore no restrictions apply or permits required to enjoying some birding. Driving to the outfall before sunrise, I found an Arabian Red Fox on the perimeter of the new suburb that is built almost on top of Jahra East. I had no time to check the settings as it was running away from me, but I quite like the unintended 'motion' image.
|Arabian Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes arabica) scavenging in the pre-dawn|
|Jahra East Sunrise|
|Bhaa - coming through..|
|Caspian Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus s. fuscus)|
|Juvenile Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)|
|Upchers Warbler (Hippolais languida)|
I walked along the outfall until it reached the sea and scanned the birds feeding and foraging on the low-tide zone.
A Little Tern flew up the outfall
|Little Tern (Sternula albifrons)|
|Black Tern (Chlidonias niger)|
|Sand Martin (Riparia riparia)|
|Adult Common House Martin (Delichon urbicum)|
But the other caused some consternation as it was flying with the adult, but the plumage was completely off; other than the broad white rump (typical of House Martin). In the end I assumed that it is probably an oiled bird, although the oiling still seems too diffuse - if any has a different opinion, please do let me know.
|Oiled juvenile Common House Martin (Delichon urbicum)?|
The birds became less active and quieter as the temps rocketed upwards, so I headed to Sulaibikhat Bay for the low tide. Here I set myself up low down on the beach sitting on an old tyre and my big glass on a monopod. There are two species of Mudskipper that are abundant in this area and enjoyed their antics for around 45-minutes - sweat running down my face and back, but entertained nevertheless.
The biggest of the two is Boleophthalmus dussumieri and if not relaxing around their burrow, were either defending their territories or showing off.
|Territorial Boleophthalmus dussumieri|
|Periophthalmus waltoni, check the eyes!|
Later I noticed a few large Crabs foraging in the literal zone that we suspect is Macrophthalmus dentipes. These crabs were oblivious to the Mudskippers and seem to happily co-exist. But when they crossed into a burrow of dussumieri they seemed to cross an imaginary line and the entertainment began. Initially there appeared to be some indignation from dussumieri followed by some posturing. When this had no effect on the crab, more forceful action was required, so the dussumeiri slithered into the pool and 'leaned' on the crab - still no effect! Eventually, using it's full body it appeared to make itself as long and big as possible behind the crab who then slowly and at its own pace moved out of the offending pool.
|Interaction between Boleophthalmus dussumieri and Macrophthalmus dentipes|
By now I was a little parched myself and was also tempted to share the pool, but retreated a little further south to another outfall. Here I found a Black-tailed Godwit resplendent in breeding plumage
|Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)|
|Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)|
|Possible Steppe Gull (Larus f. barabensis)|
|Juvenile Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica)|
|Male House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) with a protein based meal|
|Shoaling fingerlings (not sure of sp)|
|Escaping danger from below|
|One of the bigger fish on the fringes|
|Lesser Crested Tern (Sterna bengalensis)|
|Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis)|