Sunday 27 April 2014

Early morning at East Salbukh

On Friday I returned to East Salbukh wetland for the third time in five weeks. I birded there from 8 am until 3.30pm. It extremely hot and thirsty work but I persevered. However for lengthy birding trips, it will be the last time I start that late and continue that long in the Riyadh area until October.  I will be on my "summer schedule" which is more like 5 am until 11 am.

Indeed I saw as nearly as many birds between 8 am and 10 am as for the rest of the day. Clearly, the birds don't like the heat either.

I am dividing the report into two based on my observations before 10 am and after 10 am. This blog is about the former.

female rufous tailed rock thrush

On leaving the car and walking towards the wetland, I passed a group of desert lark. My next stop was not the wetland however. Instead I saw a dark bird in the distance which I deviated towards.  It proved to be a female rufous tailed rock thrush.  This was my first and probably only one this spring.

After this I made my way to the wetland in an area of tamarisk bushes. A flock of European bee-eater fleetingly halted there before deciding to carry on with their migration.

white eared bulbul

These tamarisk bushes held plenty of chiffchaff and willow warbler on my last two visits. This time I spotted just two willow warbler and a barred warbler as well as several of the resident graceful prinia.  

This spring is much hotter than the last two and I am sure the passage has been faster this year because of it.

The tamarisk bushes are the only place in the wetland where I have seen white eared bulbul.

willow warbler

As I journeyed round the wetland I next came to the area which brims with house sparrow

crested lark

A few metres further away from the water line in the same area were several crested lark as well as Kentish plover.

Kentish plover

I have to be very careful where I walk around here. Once again I was subjected to distraction displays for Kentish plover trying to lead me away from their nests an young birds.

Terek sandpiper

Carrying on round the wetland, I came across one of the more surprising sights of the day.

There were two Terek sandpiper feeding and resting at the water's edge in a sandy area.  They allowed close approach which I put down to tiredness. Despite this they looked well fed.

Two Terek sandpiper

Although I have seen Terek sandpiper this far inland before on passage, it is not a common sight.  They were lucky to pick out this wetland in a sea of semi desert.

profile of a Terek sandpiper

Near-by near some bushes was a more common migrant. It was a spotted flycatcher.

spotted flycatcher

It was seen just before 10 am. I'll blog about what was seen after 10 am next and I'll also include a full list of birds seen throughout the day.

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