20 May 2013

Migration fading, but breeding continues

Week 20, 18 May 2013 - Jahra Pools and Farm (Click to enlarge image)

David White and I spent a morning birding the Jahra area. Summer is on it's way and we now need to get up a lot earlier for good early morning light.

Passerine migrants were very thin on the ground today, with the majority now having passed through. There are still small numbers of waders present like; Little Stint, Curlew and Wood Sandpiper, Common Ringed Plover and the odd Ruff.

There are still signs of breeding with an adult Black-winged Stilt still sitting on her nest, but also with this juvenile Black-winged Stilt seen.

Juvenile Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
However, the most exciting find was that of another batch of Ferruginous Duck ducklings when we discovered this female with 9 ducklings in close company which constitutes the 2nd breeding record of this species this year at JPR. It suggests that there are either 2 pairs present or the female of the first batch laid a second batch of eggs. The first batch of 4 ducklings are still present, but are bigger and pretty independent. These are record images as they were taken against strong backlight

2nd breeding record of Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca) for this Spring

The reed beds have numbers of Graceful Prinia's - so this population seems to be doing very well. 5-years back their numbers had dwindled after a particularly cold winter, so encouraging to see so many again.

Graceful Prinia (Prinia gracilis)
I have now seen Namaqua Dove on a few occasions in the reserve the past few weeks, but this is the first male

Male Namaqua Dove (Oena capensis)
Exploring the area with Caserina trees there were also some bushes with red berries that many species were feeding on, including a cracking adult Rosy Starling earlier in the week. We found 3 Eurasian Golden Orioles - although they were skittish and did not allow close approach (for us anyway)

Female Eurasian Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus)
We were very excited to find 2 Hypocolius, one was very brown suggesting a juvenile. Only later did I discover that a raid was conducted at the Friday Bird Market last week and many birds (Bank Myna's, White-eared Bulbuls and Hypocolius amongst others) were confiscated (which is great news). After the birds were assessed, most were released back into the wild at JPR and these 2 Hypocolius were amongst the freed birds.

Recently released male Hypocolius (Hypocolius ampelinus)

There were also numbers of White-eared Bulbuls in and around the reeds slowly adapting to their freedom.

Recently released White-eared Bulbuls (Pycnonotus l. leucotis)
We moved on to Jahra Farm, but it was already very warm but did have a few European Bee-eaters

European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)
and this male Common Stonechat with 3 rather large ticks on it's head - which must be very uncomfortable and irritating.

Male Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus) with a few ticks
With most migrants now departed, we will continue to check for breeding birds that are still in their breeding cycle.

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