29 September 2020

Peep's on the beach

Week 37; 13 September 2020 - Abu Hassania

It had been a stressful day, so I decided to head to my local beach to enjoy the sunset and coincidentally I arrived on the outgoing tide.

Although it was quite busy with many others who had the same idea as me, enjoy the sunset, not stressed by work. I did manage to find an area where the waders were feeding undisturbed on the inter-tidal flats exposed by the outgoing tide.

I plonked myself down on a rock and enjoyed the antics and interaction between this small mixed group of small waders, not quite eye-level, but pretty close. Sanderling were the most prolific

Sanderling (Calidris alba)

Followed by Common Ringed Plover

Common Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)

and Kentish Plover which is a breeding resident

Kentish Plover (Anarhynchus alexandrinus)

Surprisingly, there were very few Greater Sand Plover's

Greater Sand Plover (Anarhynchus leschenaultii)

and only one Dunlin

Dunlin (Calidris alpina)

Walking further down the beach, a Common Kingfisher was a surprise find to end an enjoyable 90-minutes me time..

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)

Back to the West

Week 37; 12 September 2020 - Al Abraq

Following the productive morning at Abraq last weekend, I headed out to the farm in the early hours of the morning, to arrive at 6am and just after sunrise.

As I did last week, I spent the first hour at the pool just inside the gate in the golden morning glow, as birds (mostly Warblers) were pretty active and vocal. 

Again, there were Barred Warbler

Barred Warbler (Curruca nisoria)

Eastern Olivaceous; I did check closely for Blythe's - still no luck. These are two different birds below, the second being a younger bird

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler (Iduna pallida)

Caspian Reed

Caspian Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus s. fuscus)

A suspected Marsh

Possible Marsh Warbler (Acrocephalus palustris)

Many Willow Warbler's

Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)

Common Whitethroat

Common Whitethroat (Curruca communis)

and two bonus Yellow-throated Sparrow's

Yellow-throated Sparrow (Gymnoris xanthocollis)

along with a lone Black-headed Bunting

Black-headed Bunting (Emberiza melanocephala)

These were complimented by other birds in the habitat around the pool including;  Oriole

Eurasian Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus)

European Bee-eaters

European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)

Tree Pipit

Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis)

A European Nightjar, high up in a Tamarix Tree

European Nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus)

and my first Red-rumped Swallow for this autumn

Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica)

I then took a drive around the farm, adding male and female Northern Wheatear's

Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe)

Lesser Short-toed Lark

Lesser Short-toed Lark (Alaudala rufescens)

In the desert area, Great/Steppe Grey Shrike doing its Owl impersonation of rotating its head 180 degrees...

Great/Steppe Grey Shrike (Lanius excubitor lahtora)

A Turkestan Shrike on one of the few remaining Sunflower stalks

Turkestan Shrike (Lanius phoenicuroides)

We used to see really decent sized flocks of Ortolan Buntings on passage, but in recent years their numbers have drastically reduced as a result of the continued persecution of this species along the Flyway - really sad to bear witness to its slow demise

Ortolan Bunting (Emberiza hortulana)

As the temperature rose, so did the appearance of Raptors which we have been eagerly anticipating (autumn is generally better than spring for raptors); 

A single Black-winged Kite made an appearance

Black-winged Kite (Elanus c. vociferus)

Followed by a Black-eared Kite passing overhead

Black-eared Kite (Milvus m. lineatus)

Steppe Buzzard had roosted overnight, but a few others were seen later in the morning

Steppe Buzzard (Buteo b. vulpinus)

And a few assorted Pallid Harriers, some of which stopped to rest in the shade.

Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus)

Overall, a pretty satisfying morning, if you can overlook the shooting....