06 August 2012

Sandblast Birding

Week 31, 04 August 2012 - Jahra Pools Reserve (Click to enlarge image)

The 2nd of August was mid-way through Ramadan and I was up on Mutla ridge to see the sun set and not very long afterwards the full moon rise through the haze over the sea.

Mid-way in Ramadan
The weekend seemed set to produce good weather, but no-one sent the wind on Friday that Memo. By Friday mid-morning the wind was pumping and the dust came rolling in, putting paid to any plans outdoors. Fortunately, we still have the Olympics to keep us entertained with great HD coverage, especially the super slo mo's.

I was up early Saturday morning with wind still pumping, but just had to get out anyway. I was able to arrange access to Jahra Pools Reserve where work is now completed on the road and water supply upgrade and what a difference this has made. The roads are now surfaced and the controlable water supply means that the pools will never again dry up - fantastic for the reserve and birds alike.

Birding conditions were far from ideal, with the strong NW wind almost blowing the reeds flat - most birds were hiding or sheltering from the wind. This Little Stint struggling to stay on it's feet.

Little Stint (Calidris minuta)
Little Ringed Plover was a new arrival and if this wind keeps up, it will bring many more migrants over the coming days and weeks.

Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius)
Good numbers of Kentish Plovers were seen along the fringes of the pools

Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)
A drive around the perimeter where there was some open pools produced a stunning Black-necked Grebe still in breeding plumage. It was a long way off, so I needed the 1.4 extender, but dust and haze made sure I couldnt get a sharp image

Black-necke Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis) in breeding plumage

Ditto with the two Red-necked Phalaropes out in the middle of the pool

Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus)

I found both Common Moorhen and Black-winged Stilt juveniles indicating that they had another successful breeding season

Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
In a quieter pool, I found a Little Grebe sheltering in the reeds

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)

By now my kit and car had a fine coating of white dust covering everything and on the way out I found an Egyptian Nightjar on the road which flew when it saw my car. After a long and patient search, I was finally able to relocate it and got some crippling views of this cryptic bird and on that high note I headed home to get rid of the dust that was everywhere.

The cryptic Egyptian Nightjar (Caprimulgus aegyptius)

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