Saturday, 24 March 2012

On the river bank

On Thursday afternoon it was still very cool for the time of year. Although it was about 23C by two o'clock, the low temperatures earlier in the day seem to have dissuaded the crowds from picnicking at Al Hayer.I don't know whether this was the reason but I found the birds to be more relaxed than usual. Probably because of this, I managed to get up close to several birds for the first time since autumn.

This blog is a compilation of many of the birds I saw on Thursday on the river bank. By this I mean within half a metre of the river edge: either in the water, next to the water or even over the water (in reeds). Birds on the river bank are normally among the first to scatter when people are about.

purple heron

Two heron species were out on the banks in normally quite public places. This purple heron allowed me within two metres. However I was in the car at the time and birds often allow cars closer than walkers.  Purple heron breed here and this one was in very neat plumage.

squacco heron

The second heron species by the bank was squacco heron. Actually there were two almost side-by-side. They  also breed here in numbers.

little stint

Five little stint were eating and drinking at the water's edge in a lagoon area. I haven't seen them at Al Hayer before although I have seen them in two other places in central Arabia. I was on foot with them. I came within two metres. I think the reason this time was they were very tired migrants, having recently landed. It took me sometime to get a picture with a bird having its head up. They were all madly eating.

little ringed plover

Looks like the returned little ringed plover from last week are here to stay. They were easy to see again. Once again this is a known breeding bird.

fledegg yellow wagtail

Two wagtails I caught sight of made an odd couple. When they first landed together at the water's edge I thought they were both yellow wagtail.

citrine wagtail

It turns out one of them was a citrine wagtail. This was the second time in the day I had observed one. The other was a kilometre away also on the river bank.  Few citrine wagtail winter in central Arabia but there is a bit of a surge at the moment when presumably some passage birds have arrived.  

Incidentally very close to these wagtails were a larger number of white wagtail.


The cooler weather may be a factor as to why so many bluethroat are still being seen. Nearly all are orange spot svecica destined for northern Europe.

Other birds on the water's edge which didn't get photographed included the ubiquitous moorhen and in the reeds: European reed warbler, stonechat and graceful prinia.

No comments:

Post a Comment