20 Mar 2012

More Shrikes – Dhahran Hills

Birding has been a bit quiet over the last couple of days probably due to the continuing poor weather. There was a strong Shamal with 50 kilometre/hour winds and large amounts of dust. Visibility was down to about 500 metres and conditions were very poor for birding but hopefully good for grounding some good migrants. I have seen little sign of large scale movements of birds in recent days with only shrikes and wheatears being seen in reasonable numbers. Shrikes have been mainly Woodchat Shrike with up to five being seen each day. Single Daurian, Turkestan and Southern Grey Shrikes have also been seen, mainly in the spray fields and tress in the scrubby desert. The photogrpahs of Woodchat Shrike are of two different birds with the top bird one individual and the next two, another bird.
 Woodchat Shrike (niloticus)
 Woodchat Shrike (adult male)
Woodchat Shrike (adult male)
 Southern Grey Shrike
 Southern Grey Shrike

Birds on the percolation pond are very thin on the ground with only Squacco Heron and Great Crested Grebe being seen. Only a single Great Crested Grebe has been seen for some weeks now so, hopefully, the female is sitting on a nest hidden from sight?
Great Crested Grebe
Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin have been seen daily and look like they are setting up territories and small numbers of Red-throated Pipits are passing through. I am still waiting for the large fall of birds other than Common Chiffchaff, whose numbers have really declined over the last few days to single figures. Good numbers of Barn Swallow have been arriving in the last three days with Sand Martin, House Martin and Pallid Swift all joined in groups with them.

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