Sunday, 22 April 2012

Some developments at al Hayer

This blog is a round-up of the birds seen near al Hayer on Thursday north of the sandy reaches discussed in yesterday's blog.

Rufous bush robin

It now looks like some of the rufous bush robin that fly through the Riyadh area are staying for the summer and presumably to breed. There has been conflicting historical data as to weather this takes place. They are not as common as black bush robin but its difficult to believe they will all move on. 

barn swallow

One bird which is already into the breeding process are the local barn swallow which returned in early March.  They look like fledging the first brood before my local birds in Bulgaria start theirs!

unfledged barn swallow

Another good sign concerning breeding is the number of streaked weaver around.  Last week I saw a small flock of  seven birds. This week I saw at least fifteen in a mixed flock with house sparrow. It looks like the species locally will survive last year's bush fire.

I don't really understand why I am now seeing increased numbers of this weaver compared with in winter as it is not known to be migratory. 

two male streaked weaver

The only conclusions I can come up with is that they disperse in winter or that they keep to the reed beds away from the banks during that time.

graceful prinia

Once again I spotted several graceful prinia in exposed positions. They were much more difficult to see in winter too.


Hoopoe numbers are down on a couple of week's ago but it is apparently a locally common bird in summer after the passage and wintering birds have left. 

little bittern

Thursday was the first time I have ever managed to get a photograph of a little bittern. It was very close to me on the side of the river when  I accidentally flushed it. Luckily it only flew to the other side and tried to look camouflaged  on top of the reeds for a few seconds before realising it wouldn't work. This is another known local breeding bird.

ortolan bunting

There was of course some passage activity in this area on Thursday. Like the weekend before there were some ortolan bunting. However they were more dispersed and in lower numbers.

common redstart

Common redstart still keep appearing. I would describe them as a common passage bird. I seem to be seeing more than the main historical recorders lead me to believe would be seen.

common sandpiper

Finally although I blogged about the southern sandy reaches of the Riyadh river yesterday with its abundance of passage waders, the more northern area had a small number too. You don't often see common sandpiper on a tree branch. Incidentally I didn't find the identification of these birds very easy. They don't show the usual common sandpiper white gap on their shoulders. I put this down to perching position.

However their tails are long, their colour is relatively pale and their patterns seems to fits common sandpiper. You live and learn.

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