04 August 2018

Dawn to Dusk

Week 09; 25 February 2018 - Mutla'a Ranch, Liyah, Jahra Farm + JPR

We had a long weekend, so I took advantage and had a whole day out in the field, starting in the north at Mutla'a Ranch. I started with a quick drive, but as the weather was so pleasant a walk around habitable parts of the farm was far more enjoyable. The owners are cleaning out the farm and all the trees that have been cut down have been put in an open area and this is actually a good site for many species. It was here I found a stunning male Ehrenberg's (Common) Redstart

Male Ehrenberg's Redstart (Phoenicurus p. sammamisicus)

In the same area a male Siberian Stonechat was foraging in the air on some termites that were emerging from the ground

Male Siberian Stonechat (Saxicola m. hemprichii)

I was alerted to by their calls to a small flock of Hypocolius and again managed to get an in-flight shot as they went vertical after take-off as they typically do

Male Hypocolius (Hypocolius ampelinus)

As it warmed up, small termites started erupting from a few places - one eruption was close to some cover and a male Ménétriés’s Warbler popped out and fed to his heart's content

Male Ménétriés’s Warbler (Sylvia mystacea)

A number of Common Swifts (pekinensis?) also got in on the flying protein overhead

Common Swift (Apus apus) 

With one Pallid Swift joining the flock of Common's

Pallid Swift (Apus pallidus)

I headed over to Liyah and had an adult Eastern Imperial Eagle pass by overhead

Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca)

It was pretty warm once I reached Liyah and although there were a couple of migrants, I spent a bit of time with a Common Kestrel that had caught and killed a Libyan Jird - quite a sizable prey for a Kestrel

Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) with Libyan Jird (Meriones libycus syrius)

Struggling to fly with the heavy prey

At the small lake at Liyah a few White Wagtails were seen on the bank

White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)

As there was not much else to be seen, I drove south back down the ridge to Jahra Farm and ended up photographing some Darter type dragonflies

Darter sp.

As well as a Green Toad that took some time to locate after hearing it's call.

Calling Green Toad (Bufotes (Bufo) variabilis)

By now it was pretty hot, so I 'retired' for some air conditioning and a burger lunch.

Late afternoon was spent in Jahra Pools where a few Western Marsh Harrier's were seen.

Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

Daurian Shrike were seen in the desert area 

Daurian Shrike (Lanius isabellinus)

and on the way to the beach a few more Siberian Stonechat's

Male Siberian Stonechat (Saxicola m. hemprichii

The sabkha near the beach had 3 Wheatear species; Desert

Male Desert Wheatear (Oenanthe deserti)


Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina)

and a beaut male vittata (pale-throated) Pied Wheatear

Male Pied Wheatear (Oenanthe pleschanka vittata)

At the beach, a couple of Great Black-headed Gulls were flying up and down the coast

Great Black-headed Gull (Leucophaeus ichthyaetus) with desalination plant backdrop

Whist Caspian Terns were patrolling above the surf zone - well if you can call it surf!

Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia)

It was a really enjoyable day out - nothing too special, but many quality birds seen. 

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