Sunday 9 December 2012

A curious snipe and more at the local patch

The second half of Thursday's birding took place near the river bank and at the pivot fields at Al Hayer, my local patch.

Gallinago snipe

The most interesting finding was the snipe above. It behaved a little like a jack snipe. It was flushed very close and flew only a short distance before crouching down and sitting still before flying on approach to 7 metres. However I asked BirdForum to identify it. Despite its short bill, the general opinion is that it couldn't be a jack snipe because of its pale central crown stripe. It doesn't really fit anything well but it should be some sort of Gallinago.

mallard in flight

Other birds associated with water in one way or another were mallard, white throated kingfisher, common kingfisher, green sandpiper, purple heron and grey heron. Still no squacco heron have been seen in the last 6 weeks whereas last winter there were more present than in the summer.

white wagtail

There weren't many white wagtail seen in the fields. Those which were observed were near the water's edge.


The number of chiffchaff keeps building all winter particularly in the tamarisk by the water.

white eared bulbul

In the pivot fields  the northern lapwing numbers have also grown since the last time I visited. There are now nearly as many that stayed around the 12 pivot fields all last winter. 

They are highly mobile and easily spooked.

crested lark

Otherwise, the fields themselves weren't very interesting, at least for small birds (I'll write about birds of prey in a later blog).

Desert wheatear

Desert wheatear like being at the edge of the crop fields and on the paths to the middle of the pivots.

Daurian shrike

I still have had trouble telling some female and juvenile red tailed shrike. Despite the rufous at the front of the head of this bird, overall it looks like a Daurian shrike to me.  It not that I don't get much practice because there are many tens here in winter.

Siberian stonechat

Most of the stonechat here in winter are from one of the eastern sub-species. There are plenty around too. This is again contrary to the map in the Helms guide which doesn't have the bird here at all. It's mostly a case of under-reporting in KSA, I suppose.

little green bee-eater

I am running behind with my blogs. I have got plenty to write about from three parts of the kingdom. I'll try to find time to catch up!

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