01 August 2014

Fighting the Light

Week 31, 31 July - Jahra Pools Reserve

As we have had this week off for Eid, there was an opportunity to visit Jahra Pools Reserve which is only open 3-days in the week. As a result I hadnt visited for many a month.

Neil and I took opportunity to spend a few hours in the reserve which has had a face lift and really looks good. The Hides are now all clad in reeds providing more cover for birders when accessing the hide and not spooking the birds as easily. The reserve has now also been extended right to the shoreline and is protected with a refinery style fence and this protection has been created a sanctuary as can be seen by the increasing number of breeding species within the reserve.

Water is a permanent fixture, but as a result the Phragmite Reeds have expanded at a rapid rate and this would need to have some management to prevent the reeds eventually choking out the open pools that are still present, as already many have been lost. Neil and I recorded around 60 species for the morning, which is pretty impressive given the time of the year with migrants starting to arrive.

I had a continuous struggle with the light as birds always seemed to be against the light, so that proved to be quite frustrating - fortunately I shoot in RAW so was able to at least salvage a few. The most abundant migrants were the shorebirds which gave a good mix and new waders were Marsh and Wood Sandpiper that I hadn't seen last week. In the mix of Little Stints were Dunlin

Dunlin (Calidris alpina)
Temminck's Stint

Temminck's Stint (Calidris temminckii)
and a European Black-tailed Godwit

European Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa l. limosa)
I did find one location where I managed to get the light a little behind me and a Green Sandpiper

Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus) showing distinct underwing

Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)
and Little Stint obliged

Little Stint (Calidris minuta)
We found 3 White-tailed Lapwings and of course they were against the light.

White-tailed Lapwing (Vanellus leucurus)
A few 1st year Yellow Wagtails were around

1st year Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava flava)
We decided to call it a day a mid-morning and did one last circuit wandering if we may find a Crake, when Neil spotted a Crake sized bird scuttle back into the reeds. I killed the engine and we scanned carefully and found that it was a young Water Rail which had decided to preen just out of a clear view. We waited it out, sweating bullets as the mercury rose - but our patience was rewarded as it ventured out to feed in the open for a short time and again the light was not in my favour, but I will happily take the sighting as it has been a few years since my last sighting.

Water Rail (Rallus aquaticus)

In one of the bigger pools a Eurasian Coot quickly tried to get its 4 youngsters back into cover, but I managed one frame before they disappeared.

Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra) and young

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