Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Muhayil south side

On Friday afternoon, having returned from wadi Haly, I found time to bird the south side of Wadi Muhayil within Muhayil town.

It has a much more open aspect than the north side and a more rural feel.

The birding was quite different in part because of this. 

male Eurasian sparrowhawk

The first and most obvious difference from my birding on the north side was the presence of more birds of prey. While I saw two kestrel on the north side, there were three types of raptor on the south side. All were arguably more interesting than kestrel.

One of main target birds from the south west is dark chanting goshawk. For a short moment I thought I had seen one in this area. However as I got closer I saw it was a male Eurasian sparrowhawk. This was the best and longest stationary view of a Eurasian sparrowhawk I had had in Saudi Arabia. 

second view of Eurasian sparrowhawk

This part of the wadi is attractive too with fine views of old buildings and the surrounding hills.

old buildings, Muhayil

On a post was a wintering black kite as opposed to a yellow billed kite which is resident in parts of the south west.

Black kite

On the hills over-looking the wadi was a long legged buzzard.

long legged buzzard

Of course not everything was different from the north side of the wadi. For example African collared dove proliferated. Rueppells weaver were once again also present in numbers.

African collared dove

A small pool of waste water housed a green sandpiper and two white wagtail.

Green sandpiper

A green sandpiper was the only wader I saw with the town envelope. 

white wagtail

In contrast an area close-by was so dry it supported wheatears and larks.

Isabelline wheatear

An easily identifiable Isabelline wheatear was seen.

second Isabelline wheatear

A second wheatear proven more difficult to identify. Despite its greyer crown, I believe it also an  Isabelline wheatear. Note the white supercilium is much stronger in front of the eye.

black crowned sparrowlark

The lark observed was black crowned sparrowlark. This is much more common in the south west than anywhere else in the country.

house sparrow

No house sparrow were seen on the north side of the wadi earlier in the day but they were plentiful on this south side later.

female shining sunbird

Shining sunbird were seen on both sides.

First winter Daurian shrike

One final bird gave me identification problems. A first winter shrike with so much scaling on the undersides would normally be a red-backed shrike. Very few Daurian shrike keep them except at the sides this late. However after consulting BirdForum, the view is that it is indeed a Daurian shrike. There is no scaling on the head and the nape should be grey even with a rufous morph red-backed shrike

The next blog will look at birding on Saturday which started in Muhayil and continued on my journey towards Abha airport. 

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