Thursday, 20 November 2014

Visit to Salbukh, November 1st 2014

Headed north of the city again to visit the Salbukh waste water marsh and lake as it had been a month or so since I last visited.  Unfortunately once again I only got about an hours birding before the cavalcade of hunters in their 4X4 pickups arrived.  I counted 7 in all circling the lake stopping occasionally to get out and shoot at something.  From what I saw they hit nothing, as most have not yet realised that a shotgun is not designed to hit much at a distance.  I did come across a dead Purple Heron but it had been there a few days.

In any event anything that was there rapidly headed for cover so only got distant views again.  I expect I would have better luck on Friday mornings as most of these guys would be off at the mosque.  Anyway it still proved to be an interesting morning.

An early sighting was that of a Northern Lapwing heading south, more on this in my next blog.  It was a little unusual, I thought, to see just one making its way south but here he is;

northern lapwing (Vanellus vanellus),

Also seen flying off into the distance was this Grey Heron, again the only one I saw for the day.

grey heron (Ardea cinerea)
As ever the Dove family were well represented with both Laughing Dove and Namaqua Dove being well represented.  A Mr. and Mrs. pair stopped long enough for some photos.
Namaqua dove (Oena capensis) Male
Namaqua dove (Oena capensis) female
I had my usual little foray into the world of clever photography, trying to catch that elusive shot of the Barn Swallow in flight.  Once again I failed but god loves a trier :).  I guess if nothing else its marginally better than the last one lol.
barn swallow (Hirundo rustica)

As I walked along there were a number of Marsh Harriers patrolling the area.  Its always difficult to know how many as they circle round over and over so you can never really be sure if it is a different one or just the same one passing by again, in any event I think there were 3 in total.  Here again this female almost did not make it into my photos but I think the photo is just about passable
Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)
However, a little further on I witnessed the meeting of two of the birds, both were female and not overly happy to see one another.  They had a little aerial squabble before heading off in opposite directions.

Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

Back from their travels north are the White Wagtails who's chirping could be heard overhead as they bounced along in that fly fall, fly fall, fight pattern of theirs, great to see them back for the winter.

white wagtail (Motacilla alba)
There were a nice selection of waders on site, though I have to say the numbers were tiny, quite literally ones and twos of each.  As always the Kentish Plover was there;
Kentish plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)
This guy is developing some breeding plumage.
Kentish plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)
A lone Snipe probed the mud for food;
common snipe (Gallinago gallinago)
A Common Sandpiper topped off the list for the day.  The 5 or 6 birds I saw had the entire southern side of the area to themselves. 
Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
As always it is is a delight to see them but so few does not fill one with delight, that said with the selection of Rambo like he-men around the area its probably not a surprise, any bird with any sense would have hightailed it out of there.
 And a little further along was a single Stonechat, which was very curious indeed about me and what I was up to in his patch.
european stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)
 Among the bushes was a pair of Chiffchaf going about their business with their usual zeal;
chiffchaff, (Phylloscopus collybita)
A couple of Isabeline Wheatear were evident around the mud holes at the side of the reeds

Isabeline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina)

Along with a few Daurian Shrike

Daurian shrike (Lanius isabellinus)
A disappointing day from a numbers perspective but still some nice sightings.

 Common Sandpiper
 Namaqua Dove
 Common Snipe
 Laughing Dove
 Kentish Plover
 White Wagtail
 Barn Swallow
 Daurian Shrike
 Marsh Harrier
 Grey Heron
 Northern Lapwing
 Blue Cheeked Bee Eater
 Isabelene Wheatear


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