Tuesday, 20 March 2012

A walk down a country lane

On Friday afternoon, after visiting the old bird ringing centre, I moved on a couple of kilometres past the main group of pivot fields along the Riyadh river.

I walked south down the country lane which has reeds and water on the left and a farm on the right. My destination at the end of the lane was the very large pivot field where I saw my first yellow wagtail of the spring the day before.

While the birding was not much different than the day before, several of the birds were more showy.

black bush robin

I managed to catch a black bush robin in the act of raising its tail which makes it look an all together larger bird.

rufous bush robin

Now that I am getting used to rufous bush robin being around, I can pick them out better for photography.
one of the largest pivot fields

My target at the end of the lane was a pivot field which is over 500 metres in diameter. I also know the water spray tends to be put on late in the afternoon and this is a good time to visit.


On the left hand side of the lane are a few trees and bushes adjacent to the reeds. Bluethroat have been in the reeds and undergrowth all winter but at the moment the males seem to be posing more out in the open on higher vantage points. This is a sure sight of spring (and that they will be leaving for breeding very soon).

graceful prinia

Graceful prinia are also currently risking more exposed positions on the same side of the lane. 

little green bee-eater

Meanwhile the telephone wires on the other side of the lane attract other birds. Barn swallow commonly rest there as do little green bee-eater.

Namaqua dove

This lane is the place where I most often see Namaqua dove in the Al Hayer area. There are often on the wires too. The wires have also been a good place all winter to see either Turkestan shrike or Daurian shrike. This time the latter was present.

Daurian shrike

I have been seeing both red-tailed shrike every month since I arrived in Saudi Arabia. They must spend more time here than in their breeding grounds in central Asia.

white wagtail

When I arrived at the large pivot field, the water spray was on and sure enough surrounding it were plenty of white wagtail but disappointingly few yellow wagtail. There was no sign of any red-throated pipit yet which are apparently found with yellow wagtail on passage here.

tawny pipit

I am always on the look out for any type of pipit doesn't look like the standard tawny pipit which is by far the most common pipit (at least for three seasons out of four).

One pipit caught my eye in the large pivot field. it was highly patterned on its back unlike any adult tawny pipit which is nearly plain grey or grey-brown. 

second view of tawny pipit

Sadly for me when I saw its front there were very little in the way of  upper breast and lower throat streaks which a Richard's pipit has. I suppose it must just have been a young tawny pipit. I will keep looking and eventually I will be rewarded. I still never seen a Richard's pipit in my life. It could be easier for me if I were to visit the east of Saudi Arabia but they do occasionally come through central Arabia according to the historic records.

front view of tawny pipit

Around this lane is a favourite spot for barn swallow to rest on wires. It is good to see them back.

plenty of barn swallow

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