Sunday, 28 August 2016

Return to the Patch

After a couple of months absence I finally got to return to Al Hayer on August 20th to see how things were going there.  I was excited to see what had changed around the place.  The very first think I noticed is the virtual silence, when I was here during the breeding season there was noise everywhere, Birds singing, defending territory and all the accompanying racket.  Now all is still with the exception of the Kingfisher screeching across the lake and Moorhen noisily diving for cover.  In any event there was a nice selection of birds about the area.

As you will soon see, dear reader, I was experimenting with camera settings and well, the odd one worked but...

On the lake there were a couple of Moorhen feeding and keeping away from me.  This adult and juvenile headed straight out for deeper water as soon as they spotted me.

while in the quarry on the other side of the embankment was a pool covered in algae with what turned out to be almost 50 Moorhen (the tiny black dots).  As I got closer they did make a din as they scattered for the cover of the reeds.

In the distance were a couple of Grey Heron just perched lazily on a dead tree.  There were not very many of these about today.

Today was the day of the Squacco!!  I lost count at 40 around the place.  all over the lake in every available perch there was one or two.  Safety in numbers was not in vogue though as I could not get close to any of them.

The surprise of the day for me was the White Throated Kingfisher.  On a normal day you might see one or two around the area while on your walk but today I am certain I saw 6 (or maybe 8, not sure if two were double counts).  This is certainly the most I have seen here at one time.

There were a dozen or so Little Grebe on the lake spread out in two's or threes.  As ever they were quite shy and retiring.

Another little surprise was this Yellow Wagtail.  I did not expect to see any of these for some time yet but here he was feeding at the waters edge.

Green Sandpiper? Need to check, will get back to you on this.

Nearby were a couple of Little Green Bee Eaters making occasional lunges into the sky to capture the unwary bug.

And a small number of Namaqua Dove.  I am not very well up on the behaviour of these birds but I could have sworn this pair were courting, do they breed this late in the year I wonder?

A pair of Juvenile Black Crowned Night Heron were perched on a branch in the middle of a small pool, they did not seem too bothered by my presence, though I could not get close as there is a 30m cliff by the edge of the pool.  This definitely being a place where nobody will hear you scream, I decided to put up with a distant shot.

Duck in the Distance!, Pretty sure it is a Mallard

There were a considerable number of feral and Rock Dove flying about the place and a small umber of Collared Dove.

I have not seen very many Wheatears around this area for a long time, maybe they are stopping over in different areas of the farms but anyway it was nice to see this one, I think its an Isabelline Wheatear.
As I made my way back I came across this Grey Shrike in the trees, Its a little difficult to see properly but I think it was a Lesser Grey Shrik

As I mentioned, not many will hear you scream if you fall foul in this place, a proper stark lunar landscape.

In addition to the above there was a flypast of 25 or so Cattle Egret and 5 Black Winged Stilts.  There were also a good number of Barn Swallow zipping about the place and both White Eared Bulbul and Crested Lark to be seen around the site.

After about 4 hours I had to abandon my walk as the heat was taking its toll, over the past two months, I have become a soft northerner again lol.  A really enjoyable tour all the same :)

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