Sunday, 4 May 2014

North of the bridge, Al Hayer

Still fairly early in the morning on Friday, Bernard Bracken and I moved north of the small bridge at Al Hayer to visit other pivot fields and the near-by river banks.

In the tamarisk were plenty of warblers. We saw saw graceful prinia, great reed warbler, eastern olivaceous warbler and willow warbler.

In the scrub between the river and the fields was an upcher's warbler too.

Namaqua dove feeding a young bird

An interesting observation was a male and female Namaqua dove in a courtship ritual.

distant white throated kingfisher

In the fields, a white throated kingfisher put in a brief appearance.

graceful prinia

In between the main river and one field is a basin area which contains water at this time of year. On first inspection we could see black winged stilt and a wader which was difficult to make out without flushing which moving closer directly would have achieved. 

black winged stilt

Instead we turned our attention to the near-by pivot field which had been recently replanted and was being sprayed.

yellow wagtail

There were many tens of yellow wagtail in this field and once again a wader which we couldn't make out because it was towards the centre of the field under the spray.

spur winged lapwing

Overhead, two spur winged lapwing kept flying by. This species is getting increasingly regular at Al Hayer, 30 kilometres from its stronghold in the Kharj farming district.

little stint

Having walkedto the end of the field, we took the liberty to go round the back of the basin area to sneak up on the waders under cover. The waders turned out to be little stint.

purple heron

We then headed back towards the car passing the field with the other unidentified waders. They had come closer to us and were now identifiable as wood sandpiper.

Meanwhile a purple heron fly over.

wood sandpiper

Having reached the car we decided to stop off a couple of times for a few minutes a little further north on the way back home. 

spotted flycatcher

We stopped at the river bank near acacia bushes. We managed to add our day list here. A spotted flycatcher was using an electric pylon as a perch. 

willow warbler

However the main additional viewing was provided by warblers in and around the acacia. Several willow warbler and a single chiffchaff were seen. In another tree we observed the only common whitethoat of the day. 

a second willow warbler

Bernard and I agreed that we probably haven't spent as much time as we should looking in acacia groves this spring. Wetlands and pivot fields don't have a monopoly on birds.

sun flowers growing at Al Hayer 

The list of species seen at Al Hayer. Bernard also saw a citrine wagtail

Brown necked raven
Little bittern
White eared bulbul
Black crowned night heron
Crested lark
Cattle egret
Barn swallow
Squacco heron
Graceful prinia
Grey heron
Great reed warbler
Purple heron
Eurasian reed warbler
Marsh warbler
Spur winged lapwing
Eastern olivaceous warbler
Little ringed plover
Upcher's warbler
Wood sandpiper
Willow warbler
Common sandpiper
Little stint
Common whitethroat
Black winged stilt
Common myna
Feral pigeon
Spotted flycatcher
Eurasian collared dove
Rufous bush robin
Laughing dove
Black bush robin
Namaqua dove
House sparrow
Pallid swift
Spanish sparrow
European roller
Indian silverbill
Streaked weaver
White throated kingfisher
Yellow wagtail
Little green bee-eater
Red throated pipit
Red backed shrike

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