Sunday, 6 February 2011

Even more water species at Marj

I can't resist going to the water at Old Marj because the birding is so good.  Last Friday I walked round the north side of the lake for the first time where there is some tree cover to avoid scaring off the water birds. 

The trick worked even though it meant my boots were muddier than ever.

a few of the moorhen at Marj

I'll spare you more pictures of common snipe, northern lapwing, various sandpipers, redshank, whiskered tern  and dunlin. All were still there in large numbers.

However I saw two new species. Both were thanks to my cover which enabled me to see them without them bolting. One was also thanks to my new improved camera.

Old Marj "lake" from the north side.

About 200 metres from me at the far side (south side) of the lake were about 25 ducks.  My new camera was able to photograph them whereas my old camera wouldn't have been capable.

three adult male pintail duck

They were pintail duck with an even balance of the sexes. They were in breeding plumage unlike the pintail I had seen at Deryanah about 2 months ago.

some of the many little grebe

As I left my tree cover and continued eastward using a earthen ditch as cover I discovered yet another section of the lake hidden  from previous view by other, taller earth mounds.

There were coot and little grebe were present. I was astonished by the numbers of little grebe. There were 30 coot but over 75 little grebe. I think they must have been attracted to this very-difficult to reach place. I have no idea yet whether they are all wintering birds or whether they breed here. The picture above was taken from a great distance as the site is too muddy to reach and cover is non-existent. A digiscope would have been the best solution.

black winged stilt at Old Marj

Many of the local farmers know me now and are really keen to show their hospitality.  A 4X4 vehicle approached me out of nowhere to offer me tea but sadly it put pay to my ability to see more birds without being rude. Anyway it was probably time to move on.

I'll tell you what I saw next in the tomorrow's blog.

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