Friday 5 April 2013

More migrants on the way to work

I have a very large amount of material to blog in the next few days. There is the rest of Mansur Al Fahad's visit to Zulfi to report on and I was in the field near Riyadh for much of the weekend. 

All these reports require time to analyse and organise which unfortunately I don't have left this weekend. In the meanwhile here is a short update on my quest to see migrants on my walk to and from work each morning.  

Although its only 20 minutes walk without deviation, I tend to add an extra 20-30 minutes so I can quickly look round the small experimental farm en route and the waste ground next to it. 

whinchat on the way home from work

Tuesday's walks turned out to be a good ones. On the way home I spotted a whinchat dart out of the farm hedge on to the waste ground.

second view of the whinchat

Although whinchat is a broad front migrant through Saudi Arabia it is usually referred to as uncommon or even scarce. This is my finding too. Also, based on my experience it is even less common in central Arabia than on the coastal routes. 

So the sighting was fortuitous and unexpected.

little green bee-eater

As I have said before there is a small seemingly isolated population of little green bee-eater around the farm. I wonder if the bee research centre at the experimental farm and all its bee hives are anything to do with this! 

On Tuesday morning though 40 European bee-eater flew high over the centre seemingly without noticing it was there. The only reason I saw them was because I had decided that day to go in particularly early. Their wonderful sound which reminds me of summer at my home in Bulgaria alerted me to look up and see them.

Unfortunately the light was still poor so soon after dawn that I was unable to get good photographs.

Isabelline wheatear

Half an hour after the bee-eater sighing, I spied an Isabelline wheatear on the waste ground next to the car park at work. This is the first wheatear other than pied wheatear that I have seen  on the walk.


Finally a hoopoe was seen grazing on the farm lawn. I now suspect there are resident hoopoe there after all.

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