Monday, 4 May 2015

Bee-Eater Week

Yes you guessed it I was Al Hayer again last weekend, but just to mix things up a little I went to the Cricket Club on the way there.  My motivation was to take a look at a slightly different environment for a change while keeping with my schedule of watching the Swallow colony.  The Cricket Club is largely pure desert with a lot of construction work going on all around.  In the quarry there is a rapidly evaporating lake but is good for some Waders, Grebes and Coots while the surrounding area is dust.

A little scenic view of the area to the south east of the quarry close to the Cricket Club.

Eurasian coot (Fulica atra)
The lake has largely disappeared now but even a couple of hundreds square meters of water is home to a nice little collection of water birds including a small group of about 2 dozen Coots.  This time last year there were around 50 but there really is not the room for them any more.

black-winged stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
A small group of 8 or 9 Black Winged Stilt were busily combing the verges of the lake liking for food, again there are far fewer of these here this year but they are no less aggressive when it comes to tackling unwanted visitors.  While I was there they successfully saw a pair of Brown Necked Crows off in double quick time.
moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)
A small group of Moorhen are also still around though again not nearly as many as last year.  The nice thing is they are still breeding around the lake as can be seen from the photo as the middle one is a fairly recently fledged juvenile.
I am not sure about this one as its a bit blurred but possibly a Sanderling.

 little grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
The Little Grebe are still the most numerous of the birds on the lake and there are signs that they are still breeding here.
 little grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
That said the number of these are roughly half what they were last year at the same time of year.  I counted a little less than 100 on site last year while the number was down to 48 this time around.
spectacled bulbul (Pycnonotus erythropthalmos)
Not a very good shot but this was as close as I could get to the Spectacled Bulbul.  These have been around here for the past few years.  Never in anything like the numbers of their cousins the White Cheeked Bulbul but nice to see.
rock dove (Columba livia)
High on the quarry walls a small colony of Rock Dove have taken up residence, thee are also a good number of Pale Crag Martins in residence along the walls.
 crested lark (Galerida cristata)
and out in the drier areas surrounding the quarry the Crested Lark was singing away with great vigour.  After a couple of hours at the Cricket Club I decided to move to Al Hayer again primarily to see what was going on with the Barn Swallows but there is always something going on down there.
house sparrow (Passer domesticus)
We parked up near the farm and as always the House Sparrows were out in force all around the farm buildings. Later out in the fields I attempted to get photos of flocks of Spanish Sparrow which easily numbered in the hundreds, unfortunately the photos were largely a blur of wings and fast moving bodies, better luck next time.
White-cheeked Bulbul ( Pycnonotus leucogenys )
As I neared the farm itself this little guy popped up to see what this strange creature was walking along.  A very recently fledged White Cheeked Bulbul sat on the fence so some time observing his new world, confirming that they breed in the area, assuming there was any doubt given the huge numbers of them in the area all year round.

White-cheeked Bulbul ( Pycnonotus leucogenys )
Nearby was an adult, although I am not sure if they were realated.
barn swallow (Hirundo rustica)
I entered the farm building to see what had been happening and found that a number of the nests were now on their second brood of the year, I have not worked out the exact number but I think this little colony of 11 active nests have produced upwards of 60 young birds this season so far.  These little guys have a coupe of days to go before they are out and about in the world.

 laughing dove (Stigmatopelia senegalensis)
Of course there was one pirate Laughing Dove which commandeered one of the corner nests for its own purposes.  This pair were also on their second brood of the year.
blue-cheeked bee-eater (Merops persicus)
A little further along the path I spotted this guy standing on a fence post.  In all there were 6 or 7 of these in the area today and this Blue Cheeked Bee-Eater waited patiently until I got a nice photo before heading off

European bee-eater (Merops apiaster)

on the cables a bit further along were 4 European Bee- Eaters resting for a while, however there were about a dozen in total feeding out in the fields.  I only saw one Little Green Bee Eater in the distance today which was quite unusual, they are normally all over the place.  Maybe the presence of so many larger cousins disturbed them.

Daurian shrike (Lanius isabellinus)
I only saw one Shrike today, this Daurian Shrike was feeding in the area for a while, there have been fewer of these in the area of late, or maybe they are just in a different part of the fields these days.
Namaqua dove (Oena capensis)
A pair of Namaqua Dove were also busily feeding in the area.  This pair seem to be around this spot a lot.

 graceful prinia (Prinia gracilis)
As ever the Graceful Prinia were out in numbers screeching in the trees.  Decided to go to two sites today to break up my usual Al Hayer pilgrimage and also to see what had been happening at the Cricket Club.  Had a wonderful day as always.

No comments:

Post a Comment