14 October 2016

Dawn and Dusk

Week 35, 26 August 2016 - JPR

I met up with Manoj Olikara to go and check a new site in Jal Al Zour escarpment for Lilith Owl, just as the sun was rising. With the on-set of autumn, it was great to see some clouds in the sky which sun would burn off later

Sunrise from Mutla'a Ridge

Golden lining
Previously Manoj had seen a pair of Owls with young, but today the young had moved on and we only had a brief glimpse of one of the adults. The only other birds of interest was a Common Whitethroat foraging in the desert scrub.

Common Whitethroat (Sylvia communis)
As there were no other birds to be seen, we moved further north to Mutla'a Ranch. European Bee-eaters were foraging from the telephone lines before the farm.

European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)
Inside the farm, we had good numbers of resident Crested Lark

Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)
As well as some early Isabelline Wheatears

Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina)
Walking around the farm, we picked up juvenile Woodchat Shrike

Juvenile Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)
Sedge Warbler 

Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
and this Warbler I still have not positively identified..

Unidentified Warbler - possibly Olivaceous?
A Plain Tiger was seen in the alfalfa field

Plain Tiger (Danaus chrysippus)
Not much else was about, so we headed back down the escarpment to Jahra Farms; another Woodchat Shrike

Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)

Followed by a young Masked Shrike

Masked Shrike (Lanius nubicus)
And a Red-spotted Bluethroat feeding in the fields, after which we called it a morning.

Red-spotted Bluethroat (Luscinia s. svecica)
Later in the afternoon, I was back at JPR for some golden hour photography when the light is more favourable for photography than the morning - although morning is generally better for birding.

At one of the pools after the gate, I came across an obliging female Norther Shoveler 

Female Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)

The desert shrub is slowly changing into autumn colours and this is a 600mm landscape 'abstract'

Autumn colours in JPR
On the way to the pool, I had my first Eurasian Hoopoe for this autumn

Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops)
There is one particular pool that is great in the late afternoon as the sun starts setting directly behind you. Then you literally need to sit and wait and see what comes in to roost or forage.

First up was a few Common Snipe's that slowly came out from the reeds after I had switched off the engine

Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)

There were a couple of Squacco Herons and this juvenile had pretty dark upperparts (same as the previous week) - but it was still a Squacco Heron.

Juvenile Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides)

A number of White-winged Terns alternated between roosting on a sand bank and then foraging over the pool.

White-winged Tern (Chlidonias leucopterus)
Western Yellow Wagtails numbers seem to be getting less each year - probably due the relentless killing and trapping across the migration route

Western Yellow Wagtail - not sure what the race might be?
This is not a great image, but does show the difference quite nicely between Green and Wood Sandpiper - 2 species that can sometimes be confused.

Green (Tringa ochropus) on the left and Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola) on the right

Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)
A couple of Western Marsh Harriers were also putting the birds up, as they patrolled over the reed beds.

Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)
As the light was fading, a Spotted Fly made an appearance, another first for me for this autumn and a good bird to call it a day.

Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)

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