Tuesday, 6 May 2014

More on the walk home

This blog looks at some birds seen walking home on April 30th and May 1st in Riyadh.  All birds were observed in the remains of the university's experimental farm which is slowly being closed down. However it still attracts some passage birds at the moment.

On April 30th I wasn't going to take the route through the farm but I heard the sound of European bee-eater from the university car park and changed my mind.

European bee-eater

When I arrived the birds were gorging themselves on the bees from the hives still kept there.

Four European bee-eater

I have yet to see a single blue-cheeked bee-eater this spring. As I have noted before, they are more common in autumn while the European bee-eater is more common in spring. 

female rufous tailed rock thrush 

On one of the fences surrounding the grounds was sat a female rufous tailed rock thrush oblivious to the heavy construction taking place right beside her.

Willow warbler

The only warbler I found was a single willow warbler. Up to May 1st the farm had been particularly weak for warblers this season.

red backed shrike

There was a shy red-backed shrike which simply would not allow me close.

pale crag martin

By the gate to the farm I stayed a couple of minutes to watch a pale crag martin seemingly practicing building a nest. It kept coming back to the roof and nudged different parts of the ceiling. I have seen this behaviour before.

These two visits to the farm were the fore runners of a very good afternoon there on May 4th. On that afternoon birding was the best there since the days when the farm was fully running. I'll blog about that next.

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