19 April 2020

Lockdown - Day 20

Week 13; 31 March 2020 - Pivot Fields

Another early morning and very short visit to Pivot Fields after arriving at the gate by 6am.

I had a bonus at the patch of reeds just after entering the gate; a stunning male Caucasian Bluethroat and it has been quite some time since I have seen this form.

Caucasian Bluethroat (Luscinia s. magna)

Whilst enjoying the Bluethroat a Common Sandpiper dropped in.

Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)

I noticed some movement deeper in the reeds and lo and behold, out popped a Spotted Crake that foraged in the same area where the Sandpiper was earlier

Spotted Crake (Porzana porzana)

House Sparrow's were dropping down to drink

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

and there were also a few with the Spanish Sparrows, these males having much whiter cheeks than some of the others seen earlier - Indian House Sparrow

Indian House Sparrow (Passer d. indicus)

A great start so far. Driving into the farm, a fair sized flock of Spanish Sparrows were gorging themselves in the wheat field

Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis)

I headed to the marsh finding some calling Crested Larks on the way

Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)

At the marsh, I had a quick walk and found another good bird in the form of Caucasian (Mountain) Chiffchaff that was quite relaxed around me, although it was never static

Caucasian Chiffchaff ((Phylloscopus lorenzii)

There were also good numbers of Willow Warblers and a few Common Chiffchaff feeding in the reeds

Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)

Sedge Warblers were typically skulky, but all quite vocal

Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)

Overhead, a Common Swift passed by

Common Swift (Apus apus)

Whilst Collared Pratincole's were feeding on emerging insects overhead

Collared Pratincole (Glareola pratincola) catching insects

Still big numbers of Common Snipe around the marsh (I keep looking for the elusive Pin-tailed). Although it is still satisfying catching one of this fast flying birds in flight especially hand-held and with a heavy prime lens.

Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)

Green Sandpipers were easily identified by call, as they flew by

Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)

This is the spot for the White-tailed Lapwings that for sure should breed here in the coming weeks

White-tailed Lapwing (Vanellus leucurus)

Not sure if this was a new Purple Heron, or one from a few days back

Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea)

A Greater Spotted Eagle flew past as it headed for another Pivot to roost on

Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga)

Then a quick drive around the farm, finding a Turkestan Shrike dispatching a Desert Locust. There are not enough Shrikes for the amount of locusts on the farm. It was against the light, so pretty happy with how these images turned out.

Turkestan Shrike (Lanius phoenicuroides) with Desert Locust (Schistocerca gregaria)

A small flock of Lesser Kestrel were doing their part in dispatching with of some locusts too

Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni)

In flight snack

On the boundary with the Tamarix trees, a stunning male Ehrenberg's Redstart really stood out from the dead branches on the ground

Ehrenberg's Redstart (Phoenicurus p. sammamisicus)

and a little further along, a Semi-collared Flycatcher just kept far enough away

Semi-collared Flycatcher (Ficedula semitorquata)

A juvenile Pallid Harrier gives me the hairy eyeball after I inadvertently flushed it from the side of the road

Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus)

In one field, I found the pair of Red-wattled Lapwings which appear to be holding territory, as they are pretty aggressive to any raptor passing by overhead

Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus)

I found a field that along with Water Pipits, had

Caucasian Water Pipit (Anthus s. coutelli)

Red-throated Pipits; many of them sky watching to keep an eye out for danger overhead

Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus)

a few lone White Wagtails are still hanging around

White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)

There were also big numbers of Western Yellow Wagtails with many races/form present

Sykes's Wagtail (Motacilla f. beema)

Western Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla f. dombrowskii) with the dark ear coverts

Eastern Black-headed Wagtail (Motacilla f. melanogrisea)

Western Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla f. superciliaris)

Grey-headed Wagtail (Motacilla f. thunbergi)

On the way out, a dark-headed sub-adult Steppe Eagle past by overhead - first time I have seen one of these forms

Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis)

These short and focused 2-hour sessions are really rewarding and today I had some pretty good birds, so no apologies for the photo heavy post.

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