14 June 2013

Wind-swept and sand-blasted

Week 24, 11 June 2013 - Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City (Click to enlarge image)

I had to postpone my visit to Sea City a few times this month, due to very strong winds bringing blowing dust - not conducive for birding at all. Even today, on what would have been my Dad's birthday, the hot wind hampered birding and kept the few birds that were still around low and in cover.

On the islands, I was surprised to find a few lingering migrants in the form of Red-backed Shrike, Upchers Warbler, Collared Pratincole and a small flock of Common Swifts that passed by overhead. Even resident birds were scarce in the hair-dryer wind and sadly I only managed to photograph this fairly large Grasshopper, probably a Short-horned Grasshopper

Possible Short-horned Grasshopper
I had access to a boat, so ventured off-shore in very lumpy conditions, finding a single Lesser Crested Tern and then a single Bridled Tern that came in roost on the off-shore buoy. Swinging a big piece of glass in big swells and strong wind was a challenge to say the least, so I was happy with the BIF image

Bridled Tern (Onychoprion anaethetus)

However, what was really rewarding, was a flock of 21 Socotra Cormorants that flew in and then north up the coast, led by an adult bird which is pretty uncommon. Less than 1% of the summer dispersed birds are adult birds, all others are 1st year birds. Earlier I had seen 11 birds, so in total 32 birds which is pretty close to the highest daily count of 40 birds for this species.
Again, I was very happy to get the adult bird in flight and is testament to the 1DM4 focus performance in challenging conditions.

Adult Socotra Cormorant (Phalacrocorax nigrogularis)

Part of the departing Socotra Cormorant (Phalacrocorax nigrogularis) flock led by the adult bird
A single 1st year bird peeled off from the flock and landed on the buoy with the Bridled Tern

1st year Socotra Cormorant (Phalacrocorax nigrogularis)

By now I was feeling a little wind-swept and dried-out, so called it a day.

1 comment:

  1. Happy Dust-Day :) [and there will be more of those in the future trust me!]