Early starts are the only option in the summer months, today I was solo and through the gate to the southern pivot fields at 6am.
Instead of going straight to the big pan, I detoured around the small fenced pool and was rewarded with a stunning dark morph 2cy juvenile Long-legged Buzzard (originally I thought it was a dark morph Western Marsh Harrier) feeding voraciously on a Libyan Jird. Fortunately Dick Forsman gave his valued opinion and corrected my initial ID. I didn't realise that dark Long-legged Buzzard also has the white nape patch like Western Marsh Harrier. The best features are the barred primaries, secondaries and tail seen in flight, while in Marsh Harrier there are, at the most, just a few irregular bars in the inner primaries and tail feathers.
I spent almost 20-minutes enjoying the bird which eventually flew off when it's crop was bulging. Interesting was that it didn't finish it's meal, nor took it when it flew off - perhaps it would come back later?
|2cy dark morph Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus)|
|Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus) with Libyan Jird (Meriones libycus syrius)|
I then headed down to the larger pan where I could have the sun at my back whilst checking for birds. As before, Black-winged Stilts were the most prevalent and vocal - although I couldn't really see any signs of breeding to justify their agitated behaviour.
|Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)|
Checking for Swifts or Swallows, I found a single Sand Martin overhead
|Sand Martin (Riparia riparia)|
In the reeds were both Indian and Caspian Reed Warblers
|Caspian Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus s. fuscus)|
Whilst Graceful Prinia's were seen on the edge of the pan and along the outside of the reed beds
|Graceful Prinia (Prinia gracilis)|
There was some interesting interaction beyond the pan between the 'resident' Red-wattled Lapwing's and now two Spur-winged Lapwing's
|Young Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus) harassed by a Spur-winged Lapwing (Vanellus spinosus)|
One of the Red-wattled was a young bird
|Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus)|
and I suspect that one of the Spur-winged was also a young bird
|Spur-winged Lapwing (Vanellus spinosus)|
|Possible 1st year Spur-winged Lapwing (Vanellus spinosus)|
By now it had heated up, so a quick drive around the farm gave a moulting Black Kite with what looks like a Moorhen as breakfast, but frustratingly always flying away from me
|Black Kite (Milvus migrans) feeding on the wing|
Common Kestrel numbers had increased since last week, with possibly some 1st year birds with the adults
|Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)|
On the previous two visit's I had seen a large Desert Monitor but it disappeared in the flash of an eye. Today, I found one (maybe the same individual) out in the open and I managed to get an image as it sprinted across the desert and disappeared into a hole - probably that of a Spiny-tailed Lizard
|Desert Monitor (Varanus griseus) at speed|
Again, a pretty good day for mid-summer and scorching temperatures with around 26 species seen