22 July 2017

Merry Christmas

Week 52, 24 December 2016 - Jahra Pools and Liyah

With the family away for Christmas, the obvious option for me being on my own was to go birding, on what was a mild winters day.

I started off at Jahra Pools where I did a slow circuit around the reserve. The pace of growth of the phragmite reeds is hampering available viewing points which is really frustrating. Nevertheless, good numbers of Common Pochard were still present.

Drake Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
I also found a Eurasian Teal drake in breeding plumage - a long time since I have seen one in its breeding nuptials.

Drake Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca) and Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
In the desert area, a young Long-legged Buzzard posed for a limited number of images before departing

Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus)

The cool looking Spur-winged Lapwing was still present

Spur-winged Lapwing (Vanellus spinosus)
and overhead there were Pallid Swifts hawking unseen insects

Pallid Swift (Apus pallidus)
A quick stop at Jahra Farm still had a few Black-throated Thrushes. It has really been a good winter for this normally uncommon species.

Black-throated Thrush (Turdus atrogularis)
Also present were numbers of Song Thrush

Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos)
A Western Cattle Egret fittingly put in an appearance - Merry Christmas Dad!

Western Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
A possible/probable Asian Shikra blitzed out of one of the large trees and never banked to give me a clearer view - what do you think?

Possible Asian Shikra (Accipiter badius cenchroides)
Next stop was Jal Al Zour to check for Wheatears, no Red-tailed, but I did get Desert

Female Desert Wheatear (Oenanthe deserti)
and Eastern Mourning Wheatear

Eastern Mourning Wheatear (Oenanthe lugens)
A distant Western Blue Rock Thrush

Western Blue Rock Thrush (Monticola solitarius)
And a female Western Black Redstart

Female Western Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros)
Since Mutla'a Ranch was on route, I made a quick detour but only had White-eared Bulbul and nothing else of interest

White-eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus leucotis)
Last stop was Liyah where I searched intensively for the uncommon Larks - no luck, but I did get the resident Greater Hoopoe Lark

Greater Hoopoe Lark (Alaemon alaudipes)

A distant Long-legged Buzzard and then Asian Desert Warbler at the new pool

Asian Desert Warbler (Sylvia nana)
Along with Isabelline Wheatear showing it's typical 'pot-bellied' pose

'Pot-bellied' Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina)

On the way out a few Eurasian Skylarks looking for water around the irrigation pipes

Eurasian Skylark (Alauda arvensis)
Not quite the same as enjoying Christmas Eve with the family, but some good winter birds were enjoyable given the circumstances.

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