Sunday, 22 January 2012

A fodder field at dusk

Last Friday, I finished my birding day at one of the pivot fields near Al Hayer. There are about 12 of these. The one I chose was the one most recently ploughed up and presumably re-planted.

cattle egret grazing

I have noticed a pattern. Thee most recently ploughed field is the one most likely to have the largest numbers of cattle egret in the area.

the ploughed field

They also have more than their fair share of wintering white wagtail and tawny pipit.

cattle egret on the move

However the most pleasing moment was when I spotted that the area's wintering flock of northern lapwing. I hadn't seen them for two weeks and had wondered if they had moved on. But it looks like my earlier prediction that they would visit the newest ploughed fields all season may turn out true. With 12 fields, it seems at least one is satisfaction for them at any one time.

most of the northern lapwing

I have counted 86 birds in the picture and I estimate the total flock is about 110. This is about the same number as in earlier encounters. So it looks like the flock has been intact all season.

The filed held one more surprise. As I walked round I flushed a bird which was not a common snipe which I have seen and regularly flushed in greener and wetter fields. It was a quail. This is my first in Saudi Arabia. However early observers have reported it all year round in this area. 

wintering Turkestan shrike

Meanwhile round the edges of the field, there was another Turkestan shrike. I have had a lot of practice this` winter separating Durian and Turkestan shrike all winter. It's hard to believe I had never seen one before October.  

desert wheatear

Finally a desert wheatear once again proved very tame. This wheatear seems to be by far the most approachable.

The next two blogs feature birding in Bulgaria where I am writing this blog from. The snow replaces the desert!

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