Friday 7 September 2012

The heat at Al Hair

Last Friday, having finished birding at Wadi Namar earlier than expected Lou Regenmorter and I moved on to al Hair.

Since time was short we elected to bird a couple of the pivot fields including the one where we saw so many collared pratincole the week before. We also explored the southern part of the east bank of the river a short distance because this has rarely been visited by us.

great reed warbler

Almost on arrival Lou spotted a large warbler in one of the near-by trees which turned out to be another great reed warbler (we had seen one in another part of al Hayer the week before). This was good start.

yellow wagtail

In one pivot field we saw more yellow wagtail on the day than during the whole of the spring migration. Conversely the number of warblers is much lower, so far. 

kentish plover with yellow wagtail and little ringed plover

We headed straight to the water in the field where we had seen so many pratincole and ruff the week before. Things had changed. the fodder in the field was much taller, the water was no longer clear. There were no collared pratincole.

However there was a small flock of kentish plover, presumably on migration alongside two little ringed plover which is a breeding bird at al Hair. Two wood sandpiper were in a neighbouring pool.

Just as we were leaving the fields we bumped into Clive Temple, a fellow birder who had also braved the heat. Where we met there was an Upcher's warbler in an isolated bush. This is the first time I have seen one in central Arabia though they were common enough two weeks before in the mountainous south west.

After visiting the fields we moved downstream on the east side. The area near-by has been quarried out and the water is deeper here in a few places. We spotted a single little egret in the water and some graceful prinia in the bank side bushes.

a dozen green sandpiper

It was here that we stumbled upon some ponds at the bottom of the most quarried out area. Lou's scope once again proved valuable since no approach had any cover.  There were at least 20 green sandpiper, and 2 common sandpiper, a ruff and 3 or 4 little ringed plover.

closer view of green sandpiper

The sightings of collared pratincole continued. In amongst the waders was a solitary bird.

collared pratincole

I was preparing to get closer to check it was definitely a collared pratincole rather than black-winged (much less common in these parts) when a heavy lorry movement disturbed many of the birds. The pratincole flew up.

collared pratincole in flight

I really dont understand why so many people say to me "did you see the white trailing edge?" Its supposed to be diagnostic in flight but its never helped me.   I find an identification tip from my birding friend Brian James is more helpful. He says that the two coloured (black and red ) underwing is much the easiest way to tell a collared pratincole from a black winged pratincole and I agree with him. When this one flew up it was obvious which bird it was.

It was an interesting end to the morning's birding.

List of birds seen on Friday at Wadi Namar and al Hayer compiled by Lou Regenmorter

Bee-eater, Little Green
Bittern, Little
Bubul, White-eared
Bulbul, White-spectacled
Dove, Collared
Dove, Laughing
Dove, Namagua
Heron, Little
Kingfisher, White Throated
Lark, Crested
Lark, Desert
Myna, Common
Pigeon, Rock
Plover, Kentish
Plover, Little Ringed
Pratincole, Collared
Raptor, Kestrel
Raven, Brown Necked
Shrike, Southern Gray
Sparrow, House
Sparrow, Spanish
Swallow, Barn
Thrush, Black Bush Robin
Thrush, Rufus Bush Robin
Wader, Common Sandpiper
Wader, Green Sandpiper
Wader, Little Stint
Wader, Ruff
Wader, Wood sandpiper
Wagtail, Gray
Wagtail, Yellow
Warbler, Common Whitethroat
Warbler, Eastern Olivaceous
Warbler, Graceful Prinia
Warbler, Great Reed
Warbler, Upcher's
Wheatear, Isabelline
Wheatear, White Crowned

1 comment:

  1. Perfect.yesterday morning I was there .It was a good day also for me with video record.if you allow me i will write most important of my notes .the big fish is (Nightingale)i see it for the first time and added to my list. young (cuckoo) in a grass field .after that the (black winged stilit) down close to it . (yellow wagtail) near water only a male and three females ,a fly (pallid harrier) ,(red backed shrike),(swallow),(sand martin),(hoopoe) and fly(suber winged lapwing) Including the resident species.later i headed north then with the local road also i recorded other species. the most important is (wryneck)it was roosting with (turkestan shrike) after minutes other shrike ,it was (woodchat)finally(spotted flycatcher).
    but so far i have never seen (collared pratincole,ruff,and great reed warbler)so i hope you where is the water pool shown in the picture?and the great warbler place .thanks