Sunday, 12 June 2016

Mazyunah and Tudho in the heat

On Friday, the furthest I reached on my desert trip was Mazyunah on the Yemen border. The stop before that was Tudho. This blog looks at both.

There is one major birding place in Mazyunah and three or so usually minor ones. This time I only visited the major spot which is the sewage pool. It's large and produces a stream. Despite its name, the reeds do a good job and the water is relatively clean.

In winter it teems with bird life. Not much is known about the birds in the hotter months but it is suspected that waifs and strays might occur along side the resident moorhen and roosting doves. Last time there was a red-necked phalarope

In summer, other resident birds come to drink too. Indeed my target bird, trumpeter finch is known to drink here.

collared pratincole

There were three "strays"on this visit to support this theory. The first was a collared pratincole. It was my first one this year. I assume it is on late spring migration or lost.

collared pratincole turning

The bird was tired and sleeping some of the time though it lowly turned while I moved the car closer.

collared pratincole facing right

It allowed close views and I am pleased it didn't flush and was in the same place as I left.

slender-billed gull

The second stray was a worn looking slender-billed gull apparently still in winter plumage.

The third bird was an immature squacco heron.

Earlier i had spent toe hours sitting and watching the water trough and small pools at Tudho, wadi Aydam. For the fifth time I waited patiently for my target species, trumpeter finch, to come and drink which it has been recorded to do. And for the fifth time I had no joy.

water trough at Tudho

I had more success with other birds. A Lichtenstein's sandgrouse flushed right in front of me. Two chestnut bellied sandgrouse came to drink. Unfortunately a goat herd and herder were there at the time crowned sandgrouse normally drink so this may be the reason they weren't seen this time.

chestnut-bellied sandgrouse

Large numbers of desert lark and some white-spectacled bulbul continually came and went.

female hooded wheatear

Two single birds drank. One was a female hooded wheatear and the other was a striolated bunting.

Laughing dove, rock dove and little green bee-eater were frequent visitors. Pale crag martin flew length ways down the trough from time to time.

sand partridge

Sand partridge were also  drinkers. Unlike sandgrouse they don't drink quickly and flew off. If they are comfortable they stay minutes on end before finally walking off.

Looking at some camel pens on the way back, I spotted a European turtle dove along with birds already seen. 

Overall the selection of birds was satisfactory on the trip but I can't hide my disappointment at not finding trumpeter finch once again.

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