We arrived on site a little before 6am and immediately noticed a strange phenomena, the sun hovered above the horizon like a giant red ball. The haze over the desert prevented the rays from penetrating so it was easy to stand and marvel. Of course a clever person would have taken a photo or two, but me, well what can I say, I didn't. I often find that, when faced with the marvels of nature all around, I forget the camera. Then when the penny eventually drops its too late. Oh well I am sure you will trust me, it was spectacular.
All that said I did manage to get the odd interesting shot during my walk as detailed below;
A distant shot of a small group of Black Crowned Night Herons, this was very early in the morning and they were still roosting I think. In all there were 5 or 6 all in adult plumage.
From distant to close by, this Little Green Bee-eater was resting in a bush. If I had to select a name for todays birding it would have to be Little Green Day because I have not seen as many every before as there were today. I counted 25+ on my walk along the fields. I think this one may be a fairly young bird.
A single Spotted Flycatcher was watching me as I approached the bush he was hiding in. I think he hoped I would not spot him but a few paces further on he thought better of it and flew off.
The Brown Necked Raven was one of a pair I saw today, another migrant, though I have seen very few of these this year.
A bird that qualifies as a local, the White Cheeked Bulbul, they are found all around the Riyadh area and many of the surrounding towns including in the centre of the city where most of the other birds you will see on blogs like this never venture. Strange to think on a few decades ago they did not exist in the country at all.
Back to the migrants again, this is a terrible shot of a Sand Martin but was really the best of a bad lot of photos. There were a very large number of these (100+) feeding over the fields today along with s dozen or so Barn Swallow. They are amazing to watch doing their mid air aerobatics chasing bugs, but a terror to try to photograph.
There were a couple of Masked Shrike squabbling in a tree earlier in the morning but they flew off before I could get a photo. This guy by comparison sat watching me for quite a while before some lorry with no exhaust to speak of roared by and scared off everything.
Another very common bird around the place today was the Common Moorhen. These three were juveniles but there were also a good number of adults. my rough count came to between 25 and 30 birds and doubtless more in the reeds.
The Streaked Weavers were all around the reed beds and now in small flocks, I guess in a week or so they will form into those large flocks we see around at this time of year and then all take off to wherever it is they go to in winter.
A quick note to birding friends, I don't always manage to get the time to write up a blog after every outing as it can take some time to do, however, I do always load the details of my observations into Ebird. It is important for the long term study of birds that details are recorded and I would urge you guys to detail what you have seen, even if only a few birds, as it would help both with study and possibly conservation efforts also :)
Till next time, happy birding
© Bernard Bracken 2016