Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Wadi Kheesh with Sawnaut farm

I visited Wadi Kheesh for a second time yesterday afternoon. This hard-to-access wadi is currently the easiest place to see Arabian golden-winged grosbeak that I know. In part it must be because it is relatively less disturbed than other similar habitats. It must also be because water is permanent. However the water tank is no longer over-flowing and the stream running from it is drying up. This leaves the water trough.

I had great hopes in the passage to see migrants come to drink. I still have some hopes but the place is not quite as attractive as it was only 10 days ago.

Arabian golden-winged grosbeak with White spectacled bulbul

At the moment the Arabian golden-winged grosbeak are among the birds using the water trough though they are very careful about coming down. I saw five do so this time.

Arabian golden-winged grosbeak

The grosbeaks also only came to the part of the trough close to the one overhanging tree. 

birds drinking at the trough

The most common bird at the trough and indeed the wadi was cinnamon-breasted bunting. White spectacled bulbul is high density too. 

blue rock thrush

With the exception of Arabian golden-winged grosbeak, I have tried to photograph different birds from my last visit. There was a single male blue rock-thrush present.

little green bee-eater

Two other species I didn't see last time were Arabian wheatear and little green bee-eater.

pale crag martin

Pale crag martin were again continually flying over the trough. They were both drinking and bathing on the wing.

I left the site with about one hour before dusk. This give me about 45 minutes on the edge of Sawnaut farm on the way home. To do this justice requires at least twice this amount of time. Nevertheless I had some highlights. The birds of prey included two Eastern Imperial eagle, a male pallid harrier and a female marsh harrier

pallid harrier

A large flock of cattle egret were grazing next to a watering pivot bar.

rosy-ringed parakeet

On my side of the fence, common myna were squabbling with rose-ringed parakeet over dead palms. It looked like the parakeets were searching for nest sites.

yellow throated sparrow

However arguably the best sight of the day was a small flock of yellow throated sparrow. No males were apparently with them but even in the twilight they can be separated from the similar pale rock sparrow by the bill shape and size. The leg colour is a good fit too. This is more likely to be a spring group than wintering.

I liked their spirit. The mobbed and chased away a steppe grey shrike in the same bush. This something I have never seen house sparrow do.

I am out of country for a long weekend for work purposes. However I will blog any birding I do.

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