Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Non waders at the south river

The newly found venue at the south of the Riyadh river was good for waders. It wasn't too bad for non-waders either. Though I didn't look extensively.

Certainly it had the largest concentration of yellow wagtail that I have seen this passage. Actually I have been disappointed how few I have seen on the pivot fields. Maybe this more amenable place for them is the reason why.

(black headed) yellow wagtail 

The majority of yellow wagtail this spring have been feldegg (black headed). This is the same sub species as I get near my adopted home in Bulgaria.

some of the marshy landscape

In an earlier blog I said I had become aware of young white cheeked bulbul.

They are not the only species already to have bred locally. In the back waters at this new venue (for me) I came across a female mallard with seven or possibly more ducklings. She did her job well and hide them as soon as she became aware of me.

female mallard

However the majority of birds in area were passage (or conceivably wintering) birds.


Although there weren't as many warblers around as the day before, there was still a fair sprinkling of chiffchaff and willow warbler at least in this area.

willow warbler

It has given me lots of practice at separating the two species.

tawny pipit

Meanwhile I am still looking for possible Richard's pipit or long billed pipit in central Arabia. No bird has yet convinced me though I have seen long-billed pipit definitely in south west Saudi Arabia. The bird above was the only pipit seen all day. Its patterned back was encouraging but the long loral stripe marked it out as yet another Tawny pipit. Though the back pattern meant it was a young one.

female northern wheatear

One final tricky identification of the day was the sole wheatear in the area. The choice here is either female northern wheatear or Isabelline wheatear. I am going for female northern wheatear. It never stood up like an Isabelline wheatear. It has a dark alula but it is not isolated. The black on the upper tail doesn't extend too far.

Tomorrow I go birding locally again. I'll be very disappointed if I don't see some new passage birds. Two obvious candidates must be red-backed shrike and spotted flycatcher.

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