This will be my last posting for 2015, before we head off on our much anticipated winter holiday to Austria. Prospects don't look encouraging for a white Christmas as Europe experiences one of it's warmer winters in December. Nevertheless, we are looking forward to the break and enjoying the culture of a new country.
The usual stop produced a few expected winter birds; Water Pipit
|Water Pipit (Anthus spinoletta)|
|Female Desert Wheatear (Oenanthe deserti)|
|Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina)|
|Desert Finch (Rhodospiza obsoleta)|
|Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)|
A Great Black-headed Gull was another welcome 'new' arrival - this is one Gull species that I really do enjoy
|Great Black-headed Gull (Leucophaeus ichthyaetus)|
There were also numbers of Gulls on the beaches, with one of the birds showing a particularly orange rather than yellowish bill...
My friend Yoav has given a few pointers for these few below; the moult of the bird below is more typical for heuglini
|Heuglin's Gull (Larus f. heuglini)|
The two below could be the same taxon, either heuglini or barabenis. But if they are heuglini, then they are extremely pale individuals
|Heuglin's or Steppe Gull (Larus f. heuglini or barabensis) with a more 'orange' bill|
In amongst one of the Gull flocks on the water, was a possible Baltic Gull was present. Yoav mentions that this Baltic is not 'perfect' - it is on the very pale end of Baltic and head streaking is too heavy for a classic Baltic.
Perhaps a winter plumaged Heuglin's could also be considered, as the light at the time was pretty dull and that can play a role?
|Possible Heuglin's Gull (Larus f. heuglini)|
|Western Reef Heron (Egretta g. schistacea)|
|Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)|
|Mauryan Grey Shrike (Lanius lahtora pallidirostris)|
|Female Finsch’s Wheatear (Oenanthe finschii)|