The intervening week had been warm and dry and I thought we were done with the rain until the end of the year but no, on Wednesday night it rained fairly heavily again so I guess it was going to be more muddy ground down at Al Hayer. I travelled down a bit earlier today as the sunrise is getting earlier now and I wanted to be on site just after sun up. It was dry and cool but again lots of flooding as I set about my walk. Just for a change I though I would start my report with something a little different, just in case you thought we only have birds in the area;
Now if my knowledge of birds is a little limited my knowledge of reptiles is even more limited but I though you might like to see what else is about.
There are also a considerable number of butterflies about which I will one day catalogue in the mean time I this is a nice example. However back to the birds;
|masked shrike (Lanius nubicus)|
This week I had the pleasure of a new species in the Masked Shrike which I had not seen around here before. Its a new species for me too which is always pleasing for a patch birder. I am not sure if this was a pair or just one seen in two different locations as I saw the first at one end of my walk and the second at the far end about 4 hours later.
|masked shrike (Lanius nubicus)|
This species has been one of those, almost seen, for me for quite a while now. While birding with Rob Tovey in Jubail last spring we thought we saw one but I did not count it as the view I had was so fleeting that it really could have been anything. This time it was much more open. Happy days!!
|white-throated kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)|
In the early morning sun the light was poor for photographs so I had a couple of shots which were poor but at least you can see the White Throated Kingfisher on the dead tree. I did not see these again during the walk.
|common moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)|
Another poor shot was the Moorhen which are about in reasonably good numbers but are very shy at the moment, maybe because folk shoot at them a lot. I also saw a pair of Mallard on the little lake but that photo was little more than a blur I'm afraid.
|Namaqua dove (Oena capensis)|
The Namaqua Dove was happily sitting on a nearby power line, again I did not see many of these today (2 or 3) although their cousins the Laughing Dove were everywhere as usual.
|graceful prinia (Prinia gracilis)|
|streaked weaver (Ploceus manyar)|
|White-cheeked Bulbul ( Pycnonotus leucogenys ).|
The White Cheeked Bulbuls were also out in force and have also been breeding, I think the one behind is a juvenile.
|Turkestan Shrike (Lanius phoenicuroides)|
|Daurian shrike (Lanius isabellinus)|
|Spanish sparrow or willow sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis)|
|pied wheatear (Oenanthe pleschanka)|
|black-winged stilt, (Himantopus himantopus)|
|little egret (Egretta garzetta)|
|grey heron (Ardea cinerea),|
I had not been seeing many herons about this past while, especially stationary ones so when I got the chance I took a photo. This was at a very long range so not exactly clear but hopefully you can make out a Grey Heron from this.
|black scrub-robin (Cercotrichas podobe)|
A Black Scrub Robin was at the top of a tree surveying the scene and this guy sat there for quite a while watching Lou and myself.
|crested lark (Galerida cristata)|
|common myna (Acridotheres tristis)|
|Siberian stonechat (Saxicola maurus)|
A small number of Stonechats were about but as with the Crested Lark, I don't think they particularly like the sodden fields so I think they had moved from my area today.
|Checking this one|
|chiffchaff, (Phylloscopus collybita)|