It was a juvenile shikra at Ayn Hamran.
shikra in a bush
It was one of the first birds seen there today. I noticed a bird on the ground in one of the few deep thickets. I got too close but instead of flushing, the bird moved round the bush. It was then I realised it was an accipiter. It was clearly stalking for food. The only other birds in the thicket were two Arabian warbler, a laughing dove and the wintering masked shrike. One of them might well have become a victim without my appearance.
shikra moves to a tree
Luckily for me when the accipiter did move, it only flew up into a near-by tree. Here I had better looks. The streaked breast ruled out European sparrowhawk whose juvenile birds have barred breasts.
shikra in a tree
Consulting birdforum, I was reminded that the pale iris rules out levant sparrowhawk. It is nowhere near bulky enough for a goshawk so that leaves shikra. I had seen one in Saudi Arabia from a distance but this was my first ever close encounter with this species.
Ayn Hamran is quite small and when you go there the first time you wonder why it has such a wonderful reputation for good birds. After half an hours walk you know why.
Bruce's green pigeon
This time I had really good views of Bruce's green pigeon which is usual present but often not seen. The fruiting trees will have them.
African paradise flycatcher
The African paradise flycatcher are in full breeding plumage at the moment.
Most visits allow you to see Arabian partridge if the spring is not heavily disturbed by people.
There is permanent water there and this has attracted one common greenshank all winter. I also counted three common sandpiper, two common snipe, a grey wagtail and a citrine wagtail who all need water-based habitat.
Abyssinian white eye
white spectacled bulbul
Two other notable birds in the bottom end of the spring were hoopoe and black-crowned tchagra.
Ayn Hamran still has the ability to enthral even after four months of at least weekly visits.