15 November 2014

Residents, migrants and visitors

Week 44, 31 October 2014 - Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City

The weather did not play ball today, with wind and rising dust. Normal people stay indoors, but as birders we know that blowing dust gets the birds on the deck; so you have to be out and worry about valeting your car once the dust has settled, so to speak.

I started at some reed habitat just as the late autumn sun was rising, where I found a 1st year Long-legged Buzzard that had roosted overnight

1st year Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus)

A few Common Chiffchaff's were feeding along the perimeter and there were at least two sub-species

Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita abietinus)

Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) - this could be fulvescens or menzbieri
A territorial Eurasian Reed Warbler made a brief appearance toward the intruders. This is the furtherest south that I have seen this species. No light and dark reeds; so I had to push the ISO

Eurasian Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
A 1st year Red-spotted Bluethroat darted out and disappeared; I sat quietly for 5-minutes and it popped out again.

1st year Red-spotted Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica)

A Daurian Shrike as atop some reeds enjoying the early morning rays.

Daurian Shrike (Lanius isabellinus)
I inadvertently flushed a Squacco Heron who then proceeded to hunt stealthily along the edge of the surface water

Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides)

A couple of White Wagtails dropped in and their numbers will increase over the winter

White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)
A female Desert Wheatear made a brief appearance

Female Desert Wheatear (Oenanthe deserti)
Inside the project, a few other species were seen; 1cy Pied Wheatear

1cy Pied Wheatear (Oenanthe pleschanka)

and an Asian Desert Warbler, that stayed in the vicinity of the Pied

Asian Desert Warbler (Sylvia nana)
A female Mallard which was quite unexpected, this from the same habitat where I had seen a Garganey last month

Female Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
A brief excursion off shore had a few wintering gulls; this Steppe Gull was feeding on a dead Cuttlefish and it was a challenge in the big swells to stay on the bird

Steppe Gull (Larus f. barabensis)

Surprisingly a single Lesser Crested Tern was present on the buoy

Lesser Crested Tern (Sterna bengalensis)
As were 6 Socotra Cormorants that may over-winter as did a few last year

1st year Socotra Cormorant (Phalacrocorax nigrogularis)
Slender-billed Gulls are also more prevalent in the south than Common Black-headed Gulls

Slender-billed Gull (Chroicocephalus genei)
Finally, I explored around Khiran village, finding Mauryan Grey Shrike on the telephone pole

Mauryan Grey Shrike (Lanius lahtora pallidirostris)
and a distant Red-backed Shrike

1st year Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio)
In the desert area there were a number of Tawny Pipits

Tawny Pipit (Anthus campestris)
and a single Greater Short-toed Lark

Greater Short-toed Lark (Calandrella brachydactyla)
A few more Wheatear species were seen; here a female Pied Wheatear

Female Pied Wheatear (Oenanthe pleschanka)
Another female and much darker Pied Wheatear

Female Pied Wheatear (Oenanthe pleschanka)
as well as a good looking male Eastern Mourning Wheatear

Male Eastern Mourning Wheatear (Oenanthe lugens)
This rounded off a pretty productive morning's birding, despite the less than ideal weather which shouldn't keep you indoors!

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