Tuesday 16 April 2013

Martins, swallows and others at Zulfi

Today I am writing about another aspect of Mansur al Fahad's trip to Zulfi in late March.

In the clover fields north of Zulfi, he tells me he only intended to stop briefly to look and photograph barn swallow which is the single most common passage bird in the swallow and martin family.

European crag martin

However he almost immediately realised they weren't alone. There were also a few sand martin and house martin.

What most pleased Mansur more was the next group which also included European crag martin. This was a lifer for him.

Pale crag martin

Outside of the passage season the main birds seen of this type in central Arabia are pale crag martin and pallid swift. The former is resident and the latter is resident in some places but disappears for short winter break in others.

House martin
At Zulfi, Mansur saw plenty of pale crag martin but no pallid swift.

Sand martin
Mansur didn't see the pale crag martin over the pivot fields though. They were around their nests on the edge of the escarpment.

Barn swallow
He was also happy to distinguish a single red rumped swallow from dozens of barn swallow.

Red rumped swallow

Although there were no pallid swift, he managed to see a few common swift flying at high altitude on passage.

Common swift

Finally he tells me that on another day and in some barley fields he observed two collared pratincole in the air.

Collared pratincole

Thanks again to Mansur for providing the information and photographs of some of the birds flying over the fields in a typical venue in central Arabia during the spring passage in late March.

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