31 December 2019

End of the Decade

Week 52; 28 December 2019 - Pivot Fields

This was my last day's birding before the year end, so too Pivot Fields it was which I worked really hard over 4-hours. Most of the expected wintering birds were seen, but nothing out of the ordinary. I guess it is tough expecting to top the Waterhen in the same month!

Near the Camel pens, I had two Eastern Stonechat

Eastern Stonechat (Saxicola maurus)

And quite a few Water Pipits feeding on the decomposing alfalfa bales. Surprisingly these bales generate a lot of heat from the inside which in turn affects the sharpness of the image 

Caucasian Water Pipit (Anthus s. coutelli)

The Long-legged Buzzard's don't let you get close at all. With all the activity around the fields, you would think they would be a little more tolerant

Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus)

The wintering flock of Black/Black-eared Kite were close to 50

Black Kite (Milvus migrans)

There were two huge flocks of Northern Lapwing that were quite flighty

Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus

but I did also manage to get reasonably close to some roosting in a field.

Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus

I had a flock of 15 Spur-winged Lapwing, the biggest number I have recorded to date

Spur-winged Lapwing (Vanellus spinosus)

I spent some time at the marsh, where I eked out one Jack Snipe amongst the countless Common Snipe (although I'm really looking for Pin-tailed)

Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)

7 of the 8 White-winged Terns seen were in full breeding plumage, getting the glint in the eye is quite a challenge

White-winged Tern (Chlidonias leucopterus)

A flock of Ruff looking like a fighter jet display, inverted and coming in to land at the marsh

Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)

Amongst the Green Sandpiper, I found a Wood Sandpiper

Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola)

By now the temperature was really pleasant and mild for a mid-winters day, so took a drive around the perimeter and some of the pivots - finding Eastern Imperial Eagle

Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca)

and the cracking fulvescens Greater Spotted, for comparison, that has been present for quite some time

Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga fulvescens)

There was a bit of a fight between two Sparrowhawk's that flushed from the Tamerisk Trees on the boundary - a bit far off to get any decent images though

Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)

I came across four Wood Pigeon perched on the overhead line

Common Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus)

I spent quite some time watching this Cattle Egret trying to down a Green Toad - would be a piece of cake for a Cormorant. At one point, another Egret came over and even then the Egret couldn't get it down - so I left it in peace.

Western Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) with Green Toad (Pseudepidalea viridis)

You can tell we are having a mild winter, when a Spiny-tailed Lizard awaken from its hibernation - judging from its colour, it was still really cold

Arabian Spiny-tailed Lizard (Uromastyx aegyptia microlepis)

And that brought and end to another enjoyable morning's birding at the Pivots.

The next decade is almost upon us, so wishing all those who visit my blog a very happy new year and that 2020 is all that you wish for and more!

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