All were seen in the Al Hayer area which is what I now call my local patch.
I am seeing nearly as many rufous bush robin as black bush robin. It's hard to believe the first one of the season was seen only fifteen days ago. What I don't know is how many will or might stay for the summer.
rufous bush robin
Some of them are getting confident in their surroundings and are not skulking in the under-growth any more.
Incidentally I can't remember having seen anything other than the syriaca sub species. This is the more northerly and easterly breeder of the two main possibilities.
I am also seeing plenty of common redstart and unlike with rufous bush robin I know they will all leave eventually.
A high proportion of the common redstart I have seen so far have been the samamisicus sub species which breeds in eastern Turkey and the Caucasus.
The bird in the two photos is easily identified as samamisicus by the white wing panels.
back view of common redstart
I had been looking for blue-cheeked bee-eater all day as the historic record suggests some should already have started passing through. Finally at around 4 pm, I saw two loitering just south of the pivot fields. These were my first sights this spring. I didn't see any European bee-eater. The peak for European bee-eater is roughly two weeks later than for the blue-cheeked bee-eater so I expected to see blue-cheeked bee-eater first.
Meanwhile there are still plenty of stonechat around whether migrant or winter I don't know. As throughout the winter, the majority are from the eastern/Siberian sub species.
I find separation of European stonechat and Siberian stonechat more difficult with the females especially without a rear view.
I also find separating members of the great grey shrike complex difficult. Actually its more difficult than separating the two red-tailed shrike, both of which were present on Thursday. The shrike below is one of the sub species of southern grey shrike.
southern grey shrike
There was some action in the air. I was still seeing a few eagles although I haven't seen any great numbers migrating en mass. This one is a greater spotted eagle and was flying over the south of the pivot fields. It wasn't migrating.
greater spotted eagle
Also in the air I spotted a group of three mallard. This is a resident breeder and seen all year round.
The next blog will cover some of mine and Lou's first time visit to the Rawdhat Khuraim estate. It proved very eventful.