This blog is a round-up of birding while walking to and from work in late October and the beginning of November.
I walk past or through a small experimental farm which incidentally is slowly being closed down. Next to it is a small temporary holding lake for water being removed form the ground.
First I can say that passage activity has virtually finished. I saw three blue-cheeked bee-eater land on a tall tree on November 3rd. Before that the last of the immature migrant wheatears was seen on October 24th.
The sad thing is the farm wont be there to support the spring passage. Having spoken to a researcher there it is being relocated and to a place not on my walking route. I suspect all the trees will go and some have gone already.
juvenile pied wheatear
At the moment there is still plenty of bushes and greenery to attract birds and I will enjoy while it lasts.
Now its the turn of wintering birds to take the spotlight. Both Turkestan shrike and Daurian shrike winter in central Arabia with some travelling on as far as East Africa. The bird above as been around the farm garden long enough to convince me it is a winterer.
Juvenile and female red-tailed shrike are very difficult to tell apart. Turkestan shrike tend to have warmer upper-parts and colder underparts. Their tails tend to be darker at the end and lighter towards the rump.
eastern mourning wheatear
Another bird which has stayed around for over two weeks and will almost certainly winter is an Eastern Mourning Wheatear. The wintering birds in the centre and east of Saudi Arabia come from Iraq and Iran. In the west of the country there are fewer Eastern Mourning Wheatear which come south from the near-east and they travel less far too.
In the holding lake, a single green sandpiper has been seen for over 5 weeks now and is probably the same bird.
In recent days one or two white wagtail have been seen there too.
black winged stilt
Two black winged stilt have been with the green sandpiper most of the time. They left when the water level went low on a couple of occasions.
four of the black winged stilt
However recently the water has been continuous and the number of black-winged stilt have multiplied. There have been six present all week.
pale crag martin
little green bee-eater
Crested lark are occasional visitors to the lake too.
Two more resident birds which caught my eye over the past two weeks are the hoopoe and Indian silverbill.
I can go many days without seeing either but the silverbill in particular have been prominent recently.
I'll continue to give occasional updates on the walk if any changes happen.