10 February 2015

West to East

Week 48, 28 November 2014 - Al Abraq to Jahra Pools Reserve

Neil Tovey and I decided to head to the western oasis in the hope that we would pick up some of the good early winter birds that had been recently seen. As usual we left the city early to be at the farm before 7am.

Unfortunately, it was not to be this time, as is often the case with this oasis farm - but still, the drive is worth it if you pick up something interesting or unusual.

The first birds we encountered were numbers of Common Chiffchaff

Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)
After walking the farm without success, we reverted to the car to check the small cultivated fields where we found a few Corn Buntings.

Corn Bunting (Emberiza calandra)
A few Pipits flushed from the fields and after sitting quietly in the car they returned - Meadow Pipits, which are a little more shy than the other Pipit species.

Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)

We then cut our losses and headed to Jahra Pools getting there by mid-morning. The habitat at this reserve is really good and with a permanent water supply, birds are easily seen. There was a good spread of duck species with flocks of Gadwall seen
Gadwall (Anas strepera)

A few pairs of Northern Shoveler

Male and female Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)

And less so for the weary Eurasian Wigeon

Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Common Moorhen are breeding residents and their numbers seem to increase year-on-year. Not sure what it was eating, but it seemed to enjoy it.

Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)
At this time of year, Western Marsh Harriers are easily seen, sometimes up to 4-5 individuals

Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)
Not many passerines were seen; Water Pipits are fairly abundant at the reserve through the winter months

Water Pipit (Anthus spinoletta)
A wintering Great Reed Warbler was seen foraging at the base of the reeds

Great Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus)
And a male European Stonechat was found in the drier part of the reserve

Male European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)
The bird of the day, was a distant female Common Chaffinch - this image just here as a record shot.

Female Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)
Overall, not the most productive day, but birding is still a good morning out.

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