Sunday 15 September 2013

Pipits now among migrants

This blog looks at the passage birds seen on my walk to work either side of the weekend. In Saudi Arabia that means Thursday and today which is Sunday.

tree pipit

The passage in autumn is not as concentrated as in spring and changes on the way to work have been slow and subtle. The biggest change over the past two working days have been the arrival of pipits. There was a single red-throated pipit early last week mixed in with yellow wagtail. On Thursday six tree pipit dropped in and this evening I spotted a tawny pipit.  

back view of tree pipit

Tree pipit can be tricky to separate from some red-throated pipit in autumn but notice the weak flank streaks on this bird compared with a red-throated pipit. Tree pipit can also tolerate drier ground like the terrain these birds were on.

tawny pipit

This evening a tawny pipit popped up on the tarmacked road round the farm gardens before retreating to the verge.

second view of tawny pipit

Bee-eaters other than the resident little green bee-eater have been very scarce on the walk compared with spring.

little green bee-eater

On Thursday, a small flock of European bee-eater attempted to land on the tallest tree which was a favourite place in spring.

European bee-eater

They chose the wrong day and the wrong place. Fifteen young rose ringed parakeet were settled there and seemed to have bullied the bee-eaters off. Parakeet numbers had been building all week in the mornings and peaked on Thursday. This morning it was back down to one individual.

four out of fifteen rose ringed parakeet

Eslewhere, the faithful trio of easily seen migrants of wryneck, spotted flycatcher and common whitethroat were all still seen on Thursday. However I think there was no wryneck today.

spotted flycatcher

The wave of shrikes seems to have finally ended with this red-backed shrike the last to go. For the first time in three weeks, there were none of any type this afternoon.

young red-backed shrike

I am finally seeing a little more variety in warblers (other than common whitethroat). There was a lesser whitethroat on Thursday and I caught a fleeting glimpse of an Upcher's warbler this morning.

an anti-social Upcher's warbler

The pool outside the farm continues to change size regularly depending on whether much water is being pumped up from deep underground (for reasons still unknown). I can now clearly see that there are more birds when the pool is shrinking. At high water times, all I seem to get are a few drinking collared dove, house sparrow and crested lark.  

It looks like the muddy banks of a receding water line are more attractive than plain dry earth which edges the pool at high water.

a lone wood sandpiper

The water level was rising on Thursday and is still rising. A lone wood sandpiper was present compared with nine the day before.

yellow wagtail

On Thursday grey wagtail and yellow wagtail were also around. No wagtail was there this morning or afternoon.

young ortolan bunting

I have never thought of ortolan bunting as "water birds" before but all sightings this autumn on my walk have been near the water's edge. I suppose its just that migration is thirsty work for them.

I will continue to walk through the small farm and past the pool for a few weeks yet. 

Temperatures are staying stubbornly high. Its not ideal for me or probably the migration.

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