Wednesday 10 May 2017

Strong passage still at the waste water site

On Saturday morning, I went to the waste water site north of the city for the first time for two weeks. I was interested to know whether there was still some passage.

The good news was that there was.

However early on, my attention was drawn away from the passage and towards the large number of speckled pigeon on site. Indeed the count of 24 was my highest in Mauritania. 

ten speckled pigeon

Ten of them grouped together in a small space on the largest tree on the site.

six speckled pigeon and a golden oriole

Six more were towards the top of the tree and I photographed them too. It was only when I got home several hours later and inspected the photo that I noticed a golden oriole "photobombing" in the bottom left corner.

wide angle shot showing two golden oriole

Having found one golden oriole in one photo, I checked the others. The wide angle picture above shows two of them. One is in the bottom left while the other is in the far centre right.

I will say more on the golden oriole later in the blog.

Kentish plover

The diversity of the waders alongside the waste water pools was the least I had seen since I started coming to the site. There were only three species though their numbers were relatively high. There were: little stint, Kentish plover and Common ringed plover.

common ringed plover 1

One common ringed plover looked unusual. These days I am on the look out for strange looking waders given the success with a pectoral sandpiper at this same site.

This bird had a very weak supercilium more like a semipalmated plover. However it also had a black band below the collar much broader than is typical even for a common ringed plover. For a semipalmated plover it should be even narrower. I was left to conclude it is a common ringed plover in a high state of alertness causing it to stretch its neck.

common ringed plover 2

Both Sudanese golden sparrow and house sparrow are attracted to this place. 

Sudanese golden sparrow

Checking the little stint, I found all were fairly standard. There was no hint of anything unusual. Most were now close to breeding plumage.

little stint

Each time I visit now I am seeing fulvous babbler though the numbers vary. This time I only saw two young birds (told by the yellow gape).

fulvous babbler

However it was the passerine and wader passage I really came to see rather than resident birds. 

western olivaceous warbler

Two of both western olivaceous wabler and the related melodious warbler were observed. Both were on later than average passage.

Two spotted flycatcher were also seen.

None of these were close to the water but were in or around the avenue of trees leading to the water.

yellow wagtail

A single yellow wagtail was close to the water though.


Two female blackcap flitted between cover and the dead open bushes in the middle of the water.

tree pipit

The last passage bird seen near the water was a tree pipit. They have been seen regularly in small numbers in both the autumn and spring here unlike red-throated pipit which remains a target species for me in Mauritania.

Having finished at the water, I walked down the avenue of trees for the last time in that session. It was here and then that I glimpsed three golden oriole. I cursed my luck that I had failed again to photograph them.

However as I have already written I had already photographed them earlier without knowing they were present.  This was only notced once I returned home.

I had two more birding sessions over the weekend. One was at a newly found birding site in the city. It also provided an additional species to my country list. I will write about this next.

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