I decided to try a few of the local farms on what was a pretty cold day. For a change my first stop was Jahra Farms (normally it is the last stop and generally at the hottest and most unproductive part of the day). Generally it is quite an active site, especially with the resident birds - winter adds birds like Song Thrush (although not as many as last year).
|Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos)|
As well as Hypocolius - only one female bird today.
|Female Hypocolius (Hypocolius ampelinus)|
I was surprised to find two Barred Warblers though
|Barred Warbler (Sylvia nisoria)|
Not much else of interest, so I headed East to Al Shallal Farm which was 'dead' apart from a couple of Common Chiffchaff - these are the paler, greyer races that we haven't quite nailed down yet
|Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)|
The Painted Lady irruption is still evident in all locations, but following the rain many areas now have a kaleidoscope of yellow flowers which is a big attraction for these butterflies
|Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)|
On route to Mutla'a Ranch, I made a detour into Jal Al Zour, finding my first Isabelline Wheatear of the year, along with an obliging Eastern Mourning Wheatear
|Eastern Mourning Wheatear (Oenanthe lugens)|
Mutla'a Ranch was next and it seriously was not worth the trip. Cutting my losses, I headed back south to Sharq Harbour (actually I needed to do some grocery shopping). There were a number of Gull species along the coast with the most prevalent being the Common Black-headed Gull
|Common Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)|
A single Slender-billed
|Slender-billed Gull (Chroicocephalus genei)|
and a few larger Gulls, with this Steppe Gull being the only one flying close enough.
|Steppe Gull (Larus f. barabensis)|
Overhead, rafts of Continental Great Cormorants headed to toward their roosting area near Doha Spur
|Continental Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax sinensis)|
A bonus just before I left to do my shopping was a Great Black-headed Gull that came cruising effortlessly up the coast
|Great Black-headed Gull (Leucophaeus ichthyaetus)|
From Sharq Harbour, you can see the new causeway going across the Bay, this arch is one of the features close to Shuwaikh Harbour when the causeway starts from.
|New Causeway from Shuwaikh|