09 May 2016

A smattering of early migrants

Week 11, 12 March 2016 - Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City

Again I have lapsed in getting my posts out while they are still current; but as they say in the classics - better late, than never!

I had a day in the south at the Sea City project, but the weather was not conducive to good birding with it being unseasonally warm so early in the year.

After the obligatory breakfast, I spent some time around the trench; there were a number of Desert Wheatears around, but were still a little skittish - perhaps it was still too early in migration.

Male Desert Wheatear (Oenanthe deserti)
Since it is the start of migration it wasn't long before shooters arrived - these had set up a loop tape for Common Quail and in order to flush them, drove over the little desert vegetation that there was and then proceeded to obliterate them.

Quail shooters
A pair of Little Ringed Plovers were present, but I don't anticipate them staying as this open area is not quiet enough.

Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius)
Along the road, a small flock of Desert Finch were feeding alongside House Sparrows in the pre-dawn light. They are part of a small localised population in this area. This image is quite heavily cropped, hence the poor quality - but it is the only in flight image I have of this species.

Male Desert Finch (Rhodospiza obsoleta)
Moving to a different part of the project, I found a cracking Isabelline Wheatear in fresh plumage

Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina)

A Mauryan Grey Shrike was seen skulking in a small shrub, I suspect it had some prey, but I couldn't locate it

Mauryan Grey Shrike (Lanius lahtora pallidirostris)
Later on in the morning, I flushed a Squacco Heron and managed a quick grab shot.

Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides)
Although Desert and Isabelline were the predominant Wheatears, I also recorded my first Pied for the spring.

Male Pied Wheatear (Oenanthe pleschanka)
A few butterflies were seen, but I was only able to photograph this Mediterranean Pierrot

Mediterranean Pierrot (Tarucus rosaceus)
It was a bit of a sketchy day, but good to see that spring migration is kicking off..

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