06 November 2018

Passerines and predators

Week 44; 03 November 2018 - Pivot Fields

I had the opportunity for a few hours at the Pivot Fields which was appreciated. as usual, I was at the gate pretty early and the morning started off quite overcast and gloomy following some well overdue and enjoyable rain earlier in the week. 

I first checked for roosting raptors, no big eagles, but the Long-legged Buzzard was reasonably tolerant before flying off to a different part of the farm


Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus)

At the big pool, an unexpected Eurasian Wryneck popped out of the reeds.


Eurasian Wryneck (Jynx torquilla)

Whilst a very young Daurian Shrike was sitting out on a stem waiting for the morning to warm up


Juvenile Daurian Shrike (Lanius isabellinus)

Close by, there was a pair of European Stonechat's


European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)

A slow drive around the pivots produced a few more Daurian Shrikes


Daurian Shrike (Lanius isabellinus)

This one quite well-marked compared to the others seen


Daurian Shrike (Lanius isabellinus)


Only one Pied Wheatear was seen today amongst the more numerous Isabelline's


Pied Wheatear (Oenanthe pleschanka)

And a striking male Desert Wheatear also put in an appearance


Desert Wheatear (Oenanthe deserti)


I recorded three Mauryan Grey Shrikes 


Mauryan Grey Shrike (Lanius l. pallidirostris)

By now the clouds had dissipated and it had warmed up a little and a few Greater Spotted Eagles drifted overhead


Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga)

Both Marsh and Pallid Harrier were present with the Pallid giving some impressive flyby's as it scattered Wagtails and Pipits in its path


Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus)

Birds scattering from below

I saw a small pocket rocket streaking low over the field and was really impressed my camera could get focus with such a busy background, it was a Merlin which I was thrilled to see hunting


Merlin (Falco columbarius)


A little later a male Eurasian Sparrowhawk made a dash to the row of tree's - possibly the same one seen last week?


Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)

I went to search for the Northern Lapwing flock which is now 100+ birds - they were pretty skittish and when they flew by I checked for Sociables without success, but there was a Black-winged Pratincole in the flock


Black-winged Pratincole (Glareola nordmanni)

There were a few more Common Kestrel than last week also seen hunting over the fields


Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)

Whilst this one had managed to catch a rather large Grasshopper


Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)

I found a pool of water on the side of one of the roads and enjoyed some of the wintering passerines coming in to drink, feed and bathe. Caucasian Water Pipit numbers have increased dramatically from last week


Caucasian Water Pipit (Anthus s. coutelli)



As has White Wagtails


White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)


This one had me scratching my head - but it was a 1cy Western Yellow Wagtail in transition from breeding to non-breeding plumage


Western Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava flava)


I then called it a day and on the way back to the gate saw the unmistakable silhouette of a Roller on the wires - I briefly slowed down and only then realised it was an Indian Roller. But it flew off when I made a u-turn, so it took some time to relocate it as the clouds rolled in and the sun disappeared. My camera struggled to lock focus even though the bird was static albeit quite far off - so these images just for record purposes


Indian Roller (Coracias benghalensis)


As it flew, I noticed the Black-winged Kite was sitting on the telephone pole close to me - I managed a few images as it flew by and later had it hovering over the field. I think the heavy cloud had brought in some water vapour as again I struggled to get clear images


Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus vociferus)



Oops, he has seen me!

So, despite the inclement weather to start it was a pretty successful and productive morning



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