Tuesday 18 February 2014

Wadi Talea in the afternoon

In the afternoon in Wadi Talea, Bernard Bracken and I spent a lot of time looking unsuccessfully for Blanford's lark which we concluded must have moved to lower altitudes. We looked very intensively which is my preferred style. 

Dusky turtle dove

Other regional birds were  not so difficult. The wadi is clearly a stronghold of dusky turtle dove which was the most common dove of the day. No African collared dove were seen. Like the lark they move down in winter.

three dusky turtle dove

The only lark we saw was crested lark which can adapt more than any other.

crested lark

We had a little more luck with wheatears than larks. 

male Arabian wheatear

Arabian wheatear were common but we also picked up an Isabelline wheatear too. 

Isabelline wheatear

There were three other interesting chats in the area. Little rock thrush was quite conspicuous and not just on rocks.

little rock thrush

Both black redstart and common redstart winter here.

female common redstart

Among other smaller birds were also plenty of resident birds. Palestine sunbird was common. Abyssinian white-eye and African silverbill were seen less frequently.

male Palestine sunbird

Although Arabian babbler was seen in the morning, a young one was only seen in the afternoon and it was fearless.

young Arabian babbler

The similar sized Yemen thrush was also seen near-by.

Yemen thrush

Also in the bushes were graceful prinia and chiffchaff. The latter was the only wintering warbler seen but it was common and mostly found in small loose flocks.


Towards the end of the afternoon, we came across a flock of Arabian partridge on two occasions. Their standard defence when noticing people is to fly directly down a hillside and away especially if it is steep. However this wasn't possible because we were at the bottom of the slope so we got prolonged views as their tried (badly) to hide. 

Arabian partridge

One of the last species we saw before leaving was brown-necked raven

One of the two ravens was carrying nesting material. Even this high up, spring is almost in the air.

brown-necked raven

On Saturday, Bernard and I spent the day walking down and up the Raydah escarpment. I'll blog about that next.

Birds seen at Wadi Talea based on a list kindly prepared by Bernard Bracken

Arabian Partridge
Steppe Eagle
Arabian Babbler
White Spectacled Bulbul
Little Green Bee Eater
Dusky Turtle Dove
Laughing Dove
Rock Dove and Feral Pigeon
African Silverbill
Graceful Prinia
Scrub Warbler
Brown Woodland Warbler
Crested Lark
Isabelline Wheatear
Arabian Wheatear
Yemen Thrush
Little Rock Thrush
Common Redstart
Black Redstart
Black Scrub Robin
Brown-necked Raven
Tristrams Starling
Long Billed Pipit
Palestine Sunbird
Abyssinian White-eye
Yemen Linnet
House sparrow

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