Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Through Dirab

While looking for wheatears at "the edge of the world" I naturally came across other species too. This is a place with a high density of tawny pipit in winter for example.

a tawny pipit

There was a large natural variation in the look of the tawny pipit there but despite my regrets, none could be allocated to any other pipit species.

another tawny pipit

Once again, as with other areas in central Arabia with watered fodder fields, white wagtail were abundant.

white wagtail in a fodder field

Spanish sparrow numbers in winter in cultivated areas near Riyadh are huge. Large numbers also now stay on to breed in the summer months too.

Spanish sparrow

Two steppe eagle were also seen.

steppe eagle

After finishing with the edge of the world at about lunchtime, I headed towards al Hayer by a back road through Dirab.

black kite

The road passes by a place where 80 black kite were seen roosting from December onwards last winter. However this was the middle of the day yet one black kite was present.

black kite took to the air

I got a text message later in the week from Mansur Al Fahad to say he had seen 3 black kite in the Mansouriyah area. It looks like the group may be back again this winter. It makes me wonder why we didn't see them in the early winter both this year and last.

"fulvescens" greater spotted eagle

Near-by the black kite roost I observed a second fulvescens greater spotted eagle of the year or possibly the same one as seen at Al Hayer 3 weeks before.  This is a rare pale morph and I feel privileged to see it.

white throated kingfisher at al Hayer

The visit to al Hayer was very brief. I concentrated on trying to get close to the 100 strong northern lapwing flock which has wintered there for the second year running.

part of the northern lapwing flock

They are incredibly skittish and most of the pivot fields have no cover. Nevertheless I got closer this time because I used the one bush at the edge of the field to walk behind out of their line of sight.

I got close enough to realise there were no odd men out: no golden plover or  other lapwings or other any other type of fellow travellers.

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