5 Jun 2012

Caspian & Clamorous Reed Warblers – Alba Marsh (Bahrain)

I went ringing again this weekend with Brendan at Alba Marsh and we were again joined by Abdulla for a n hour or so. The weather was quite poor with very hot temperatures and a strong Shamal (North-westerly) wind blowing. These were not ideal conditions for catching birds so to start with we went to try to catch the three young Kentish Plover that Howard King had found the weekend before. These birds were the young of an adult that Brendan had ringed as a youngster previously in Bahrain and so it would be great to ring the offspring of this bird. The birds were in an old disused quarry with a small wet area at the bottom end, but despite looking for the youngsters we could not find any Kentish Plovers at all. The Little Ringed Plovers that bred for the first time in Bahrain this year and the young of whom Brendan ringed a couple of weeks ago were still present at the same site. When we got to Alba Marsh conditions were still poor but we set up three nets in the normal positions and one two shelf net in an area where I had seen a late Willow Warbler on the way in. The hot temperatures were being made bearable by the strong winds so setting up the nets was quite fast. The days ringing turned out to be quite successful considering it is late in the season and we caught six Caspian Reed Warblers, four House Sparrows, one Clamorous Reed Warbler and one juvenile Graceful Prinia (see next post). The Caspian Reed Warblers at this site are still causing a bit of confusion as they are mainly juvenile birds, but are carrying a lot of fat. This would presumably be unusual if the birds were locally bred ones, so they may be migrants form elsewhere in the region. Brendan also mentioned that we had not heard territorial birds singing at the site over the spring, which would have been expected if the birds had bred here. The species has not been recorded as breeding in Bahrain or Qatar, but they do breed in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, so maybe they are from here? Although they would be very early migrants if this was the case. More study of these birds is required I feel.
Caspian Reed Warbler

Caspian Reed Warbler

Caspian Reed Warbler

The Clamorous Reed Warbler was an un-ringed male bird that was caught as we were taking down the second to last net. These are really big birds and after handling Caspian Reed Warblers for most of the session their size becomes even more obvious. I personally think they are the best birds to ring and handle and make my day every time we catch one.
Clamorous Reed Warbler (male)

Clamorous Reed Warbler (male)

Clamorous Reed Warbler (male)


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