03 March 2020

Sandstorm at the Pivots

Week 09; 26 February 2020 - Pivot Fields

We had 3-days off for National and Liberation Day holidays, so although main celebrations were cancelled due to the Corona Virus concerns, I opted to avoid the traffic in and around the city and sought refuge in the tranquility of the Pivot Fields together with Paul Scott. However, the weather didn't play fair and we had really strong wind and blowing dust all morning, keeping most birds on the deck or in cover

It has been some time since we were last here, so we soaked it up. There were fair numbers of Caspian Stonechat's, this one back-lit against the rising sun

Caspian Stonechat (Saxicola m. hemprichii)

A Steppe Eagle was hunched up roosting in one of the recently ploughed fields surrounded by a big flock of Common Starling feeding in the field

Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis)

One of the Starlings got close enough to get 'papped'

Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

On the way to the Camel Pens, I had a Corn Bunting singing it's heart out on the overhead line

Corn Bunting (Emberiza calandra)

One of many Isabelline Wheatear's seen during the morning

Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina)

At the Camel Pens, the old Steppe Eagle from earlier had moved

Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis)

and I had my first Pied Wheatear of the spring

Pied Wheatear (Oenanthe pleschanka)

A Lesser Short-toed Lark was pretty cryptic in the ploughed field

Lesser Short-toed Lark (Alaudala rufescens)

I then explored a field with short grass and was rewarded with two Richard's Pipit in summer plumage - a first for me, although they did have me scratching my head for some time and checking with others to confirm the ID

Richard's Pipit (Anthus richardi)

Richard's Pipit (Anthus richardi), the 2nd bird

I then headed to the marsh and had many Common Snipe flush when I got out the car to walk

Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)

Two Glossy Ibis were also put up by my presence

Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)

However, there were also some Black-headed Wagtail's that had now arrived in bigger numbers

Black-headed Wagtail (Motacilla f. feldegg)

and many more Caspian Stonechat's

Caspian Stonechat (Saxicola m. hemprichii)

A adult Greater Spotted Eagle passed by overhead on the strong wind

Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga)

On the way out of the marsh, I had a Great Grey Shrike (Steppe) that had just finished eating some invertebrate

Great Grey Shrike (Steppe) (Lanius excubitor lahotra)

By now the wind was too strong and it was not pleasant to be out, so we called it a morning.

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