04 August 2020

Lockdown - Day 145

Week 32; 03 August 2020 - Pivot Fields

This was the last day of the Eid break and I had originally planned to try Abraq, but changed my mind as it is still a little early for the autumn migrants. Instead, it was back to Pivot Fields on another hot and sweaty day. This is the northern boundary road between the Tamarix Trees, on the way to the marsh. I quite liked the sun filtering through the trees.

Tamarix Grove

At the marsh, the family of Graceful Prinia's were present feeding in and around the Sabkha bushes. I love the muted background colours in the early morning sun

Graceful Prinia (Prinia gracilis)

Movement at the base of the reeds revealed 3 Savi's Warblers interacting with each other. I was able to get fairly close before they eventually disappeared back into the reeds - a most enjoyable encounter. In the end there were 4 birds..

Savi's Warbler (Locustella luscinioides)

In the same area, Caspian Reed Warblers were foraging, but in the reeds

Caspian Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus s. fuscus)

and a little further on a more skulky Indian Reed Warbler was seen.

Indian Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus s. brunnescens)

By now my shirt was soaked, so back to the car for some respite, even though it was still only 7am in the morning. I met up with Dr. Riad and his wife, as they wanted to see and photograph the Egyptian Nightjar's. It took some walking before we eventually found a few birds, 5 in total in the end. Today they did not allow close approach for some reason, so most pics were of them flying away, but I did get lucky with a few in flight images and the last image was a bird I saw from the car.

Egyptian Nightjar (Caprimulgus aegyptius), the best BIF of the morning

First time I have noticed the white 'booties'


An obliging bird from the car

A quick drive around the farm and some pivots, finding the Black-winged Kite that has stayed (I assume its the same bird) for a few weeks now. Walking around one of the Alfalfa Fields I discovered around 15 Pygmy Skippers in about a 10 sq meter patch - seems there has been an eruption of this species.

Pygmy Skipper (Gegenes p. pumilio)

My last stop was at another, more open pool that the waders seem to now prefer as the edges has sandy areas for them to roost. There were good numbers of Collared Pratincole's flying in and out

Collared Pratincole (Glareola pratincola)

I had a distant adult and juvenile Red-wattled Lapwing

Adult Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus)

Juvenile Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus)

As well as a pair of Spur-winged Lapwings

Spur-winged Lapwing (Vanellus spinosus)

Whilst there was a single White-winged Tern roosting and then flying off on a short sortie before returning to roost.

White-winged Tern (Chlidonias leucopterus)

Sparrow-Larks and Namaqua Doves seemed constantly on the move.

Male Namaqua Dove (Oena capensis)

All too soon, it gets too hot and birds just try and rest around the water, or any shade they can find. That was my cue to also call it a morning....

01 August 2020

Lockdown - Day 142

Week 31; 31 July 2020 - Pivot Fields

We have Eid Al Adha holidays, so with nowhere to travel, it give a few extra days birding this weekend. So, back to the Pivot Farm. Yesterday was hot and heavy, but today was hot and dry with the hair-dryer wind blowing, which also just sucks the energy right out of you. 

Neil Tovey joined me this morning and we met at the marsh where we had a Collared Pratincole fly overhead

Collared Pratincole (Glareola pratincola)

Followed by a few Western Cattle Egret's

Western Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)

No sign of the Savi's, but it was also hard to hear any calls with the wind blowing through the reeds. Whilst talking at our car, we had our first, but distant European Roller of the autumn.

European Roller (Coracias garrulus)

We went to check the Nightjar's, but almost all had been flushed by some of the other birders intent on getting flight shots. We did manage to see one. We then split up and I headed to the pool just off the main road, where I had this really young Collared Pratincole

Juvenile Collared Pratincole (Glareola pratincola)

The numbers of waders had increased substantially since yesterday; Ruff, Little Stint, Little Ringed Plovers, Wood and many Green Sandpipers, here showing its dark underwing to separate it from Wood Sandpiper in flight

Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)

The birding activity quietened very quickly this morning with the hot dry wind, so we also called it a day

Lockdown - Day 141

Week 31; 30 July 2020 - Pivot Fields

I was up early and at the gates of the farm by 6am. There was not a breathe of air today and the heat was already hanging heavy in the air. I headed to the marsh and within 5-minutes of walking from the car, was absolutely soaked.

New families of Graceful Prinia's were all over the place and I enjoyed watching the antics of the youngsters as the foraged in the Sabkha Bushes. Love the early morning glow and colours of these images.

Graceful Prinia (Prinia gracilis)

Warblers were active and calling, here a Caspian Reed Warbler

Caspian Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus s. fuscus)

I assume this is a young Caspian, as it's beak is still pretty short

Probable juvenile Caspian Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus s. fuscus)

I was pleased to see a Savi's Warbler in the top of the reeds, which was unusual for this skulker and it did slowly come a little closer to investigate my 'spisshing'. Their profile and pose are easily recognisable

Savi's Warbler (Locustella luscinioides)

Walking back to the car I had a Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, possibly the same bird seen earlier in the month

Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin (Cercotrichas galactotes)

I then checked the area where the Nightjar's were last week and counted 7 from the car. With care and some stealth, I was able to get close to one bird without flushing any of them. Look at the detail in the feathers of the last image.

Egyptian Nightjar (Caprimulgus aegyptius)

This one showing it's white neck patches, which are not often seen

Carrying on with the drive, I had the Black-winged Kite on the overhead line

Black-winged Kite (Elanus c. vociferus)

When I first started birding at school in South Africa many, many years ago, we used to call them Bob-tailed Kites, this is why!

Bobbing it's tail

Black-crowned Sparrow-Larks were in their usual area

Male Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark (Eremopterix nigriceps)

Female Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark (Eremopterix nigriceps)

As were the Cream-coloured Courser's, but this morning there were over 30 birds in the flock. Love their crown pattern

Cream-coloured Courser (Cursorius cursor)

Last stop was the field with Collared Pratincole's and today there were still as many as I counted last week

Collared Pratincole (Glareola pratincola)