Thursday, 15 May 2014

Walking home in May

I have been very busy at work over the past week or so with longer working hours than usual. Nevertheless I have managed to snatch some time in daylight to bird on my walk home on three days either side of last weekend.

If I take a slight diversion I can walk through the remains of the university experimental farm which is now mostly closed down and dismantled.

male red-backed shrike

Red back shrike is a very common migrant through central Arabia. Its also not typically an early migrant. It was no surprise to see one or more in the farm on each of the three days.  

another angle on the red backed shrike

Both male and female birds have been seen.

female red backed shrike

Another late but common migrant is spotted flycatcher. I find that the two species migration period is very similar.  On one of the days, three of them were present at the same time.

spotted flycatcher

Common redstart typically migrates earlier than the other two species but a late female was found hiding in one of them most shaded areas.

female common redstart

I don't expect to see any more this spring.

second view of common redstart

On Sunday evening there was a bigger influx of warblers than on the other days. 

common whitethroat

Three warbler species were observed closely associating in the same small garden area with its high trees and surrounded by a low hedge.

The birds were hungry and daring to come out into the open to feed on the ground. The majority were willow warbler but there were two common whitethroat too.

willow warbler

The third warbler was a great reed warbler.

second willow warbler

It was much shyer than the other warblers and I struggled to get good views are it kept to the hedge and was constantly moving along it.

great reed warbler

I am pretty sure this is the first one I have seen at the farm.

white spectacled bulbul

I have concentrated on the passage birds but it pleases me when I see the white spectacled bulbul which still lives here. This is not common in the city.

This coming weekend I am off to Muhayil which is a small town  between Abha and Jizan in the south west. It will be hot and humid but should be worthwhile despite the expected discomfort.

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