Tuesday 8 April 2014

The hinterland at Salbukh

While I visited east Salbukh wetland on Friday I occasionally ventured away from the wetland towards the surrounding countryside.

This blog reports on the birds seen more arbitrarily more than 30 metres from the waters edge.   

My first surprise was just how many birds there were. I am sure this was helped by the fact that it had rained a couple of days before and the land was still wet and the sparse vegetation was reinforced with new growth.

young desert lark

My first encounter away from the wetland was with three desert lark. I didnt immediately recognise the mas the bird I concentrated on had a small bill and was pinkish yellow. 

a second desert lark

However it's face was far too mean looking for bar-tailed lark and I assume it was a young bird but a desert lark nonetheless.

There were crested lark near-by too.

male pied wheatear

Last week I saw just one pied wheatear. This time there were five and they were a mix of males and females.

female pied wheatear

A male black-eared wheatear was the first one I have observed near Riyadh this spring though I saw one almost a month ago near al Birk on the Red Sea coast.

black eared wheatear

Northern wheatear was the third species of passage wheatear seen on Friday.

northern wheatear

There were many yellow wagtail about too. What I found strange was that the big majority were flava sub species with a few lutea also present. I only saw one fledegg out here.

flava yellow wagtail

This was in stark contrast to the ones at the water's edge which were predominately fledegg. I have no idea whether this observation is meaningful but I will be on the look out in future to see if fledegg really does prefer wetter terrain. 

lutea yellow wagtail

As often is the case on passage, red throated pipit were companions of the yellow wagtail

red throated pipit

The earth in this area was almost as red as the pipits' throats. They look well camouflaged on sand and were difficult to pick up.

two red throated pipit

Saturday was one of those rare weekend days when I had to go to work so Friday was my only birding day. However next weekend should make up for it as I am visiting the huge Mahazet reserve for the first time.

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