14 Dec 2011

Citrine Wagtail - Sabkhat Al Fasl

Another trip to Sabkhat Al Fasl proved quite successful. There were more birds about this weekend than last when the heavy rain had dampened down activity. Clamorous Reed Warblers were calling from almost every major stand of reeds and Bluethroats were present in good numbers. At last ten Western Marsh Harriers were hunting over the reed beds and as already mentioned in a previous post there were nine Greater Spotted Eagles and an Eastern Imperial Eagle. The Eastern Imperial eagle was a first calendar year bird and was in exactly the same place as I had seen it on 27th October so may have been the same bird? Other birds of prey included a single Common Kestrel and a single Eurasian Sparrowhawk. A flock of over 200 Common Starlings were seen flying over the reed beds where they presumably roost and five Eurasian Skylarks were in a small group at the end of the reed beds, which is an unusual species for the site. A nice Citrine Wagtail was also present in this area, whihc is an uncommon visitor to the Eastern Province, but unfortunately my photograph was not quite in focus as the bird was very close, along with about ten Water Pipits and five Tawny Pipits. As the water levels were down a bit from last weekend a few waders were again present on the water’s edge including at least ten Common Snipe, five Little Stint and two Green Sandpiper. Other waders included six Pied Avocets, eight Dunlins and a single Temmink’s Stint, which was seen in a small wet area on the way out of the reserve. Three Daurian Shrikes were present at the edge of the reeds and in one wet area we saw about 30 Little Egrets, six Indian Reef Heron and a small number of Slender-billed Gulls and Black-headed Gulls along with a group of seven Little Grebes. One slight disappointment was that we did not see the Pied Kingfisher which would have been nice as Phil was not with me last weekend and it is a scarce bird in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, although Phil has seen three different birds before. We did see a Common Kingfisher as normal, which is always an amazing bird to see. I would like to thank Phil Roberts for allowing me to use his excellent shot of a flying adult Slender-billed gull (see below).
 Slender-billed Gull (adult) - Photo courtesy of Phil Roberts
 Slender-billed Gull (1sy calendar year)
Black-headed Gull (adult winter)
 Common Snipe
 Little Stint
 Green Sandpiper
 Little Egret
 Citrine Wagtail (adult)
 Common Kingfisher
 Little Grebes
Bluethroat (1st year male)

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