Sunday, 22 January 2017

Al Hayer Lakes 14-1-17

I took a walk around the lakes to the south of Al Hayer fields (see map in locations tab) this morning.  The weather was clear but cold but it seemed not to bother the birds, especially he Herons, which were about in very large numbers today.

The morning sunrise was quite pretty over the desert this morning.  Weather was quite cool for here at about 14 degrees.  Yes I know from the snow based areas of the north that does not sound cool but believe me in the crisp dry air it is :)

Anyhow almost straight from the car I spotted this little Mourning Wheatear perched on a bush around 200m away.

A little further along perched on top of a local landmark was a single Purple Heron and a Grey Heron, as you can see they use it a bit for this purpose.  All in all I think I will label this day, the day of the Herons as they were by far the most numerous bird around

A beautiful Purple Heron a little closer
This photo did not come out as well as I had hoped but all the specks along the horizon are Grey Herons.
Luckily for me some of them decided to land a little closer to where I was and I got this photo which has 27, but that was only a fraction of what were about.  In addition there about 10 Squacco Heron, 5 or 6 Little Egret and a dozen or so Purple Heron around the lakes.

Will get back to you on this one, still researching this young gull.  There were a few gulls about today but this one was by far the biggest.

All along the lake were small numbers of Black Winged Stilt, I think in total I saw about 20.  They do breed on the lake so I assume some of them will be staying here to raise young.

A single Bluethroat perched on top of a reed.  Another couple of birders I met tell me that there were a couple more of these up around the fields area.

The lake area remains a good place to spot the White Throated Kingfisher and I spotted four here this morning.  I found a pair of these breeding here last year and maybe they will do the same this year.  They will not use the same burrow this year though, it was washed away by a recent flood.

The numbers of Little Grebe have been gradually increasing on the lake over the past couple of years. When I came here first there were only a couple about but this week I spotted 10 pairs.  These also breed in the area so I expect the numbers will rise over the next few years.

A small group of Ferringous Duck were spotted flying overhead heading north.  I managed to get this photo of them but this was the last I saw of them on the day.

And a single Spur Winged Lapwing on a flypast. 

The White or Pied Wagtail were around in good numbers chasing each other across the tops of the sand banks.

This bird confused me, clearly a duck with a very large bill, although not really the colouring for a Shoveler.  Perhaps a female.  I am opting for Shoveler as there is nothing else with quite as big a bill, even if this photo does not show it very well. 

There are not very many trees and bushes at this end of the river so its not really the best spot to be looking for Black Bush Robins, nevertheless two seemed to find enough to their liking o be in this area today.

This looked like a relatively young bird and there were three that I spotted in the area, the Greater Spotted Eagle is fairly common around here at the moment.
This certainly won't win any photography competitions but is clear enough to show a female Marsh Harrier perched on a rock.  In all I spotted two of these around the lakes today.

A small flock of 12 Cormorants were happily feeding on the far side of the lake, they are just starting to get their breeding plumage.

In addition to the big gull there were a few Black Headed Gulls about too, but only 3 or 4 in total.

For most of my walk I noticed a lack of Little Green Bee Eaters around, but as I drew closer to the fields I noticed a small flock of 5 or 5 in a tree together.

The Crested Lark is a constant around this area, you are almost guaranteed to see at least one and even if you don't see it you will certainly hear it as you walk along.

This Turkestan Shrike was the only Shrike I spotted today but then I did not manage to get down into the fields very much as there were workmen all around trying to create some new drainage ditches.

Other birds I did not get useful photos of were a good number of Barn Swallows and Rock Martins plus the ever present White Eared Bulbul and Graceful Prinia which were everywhere.  The number of Common Moorhen are increasing on the lakes as are the number of Coot. 

Another lovely days birding at Al Hayer.

© Bernard Bracken

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