15 Mar 2013

Mauryan (Steppe) Grey Shrike – Dhahran Hills


The ‘patch’ is now becoming full of shrikes of various species with the majority being Turkestan Shrikes, followed by Daurian Shrikes and then Woodchat Shrikes. There has only been one Mauryan (Steppe) Grey Shrike until last night when I found another bird near the spray fields. This bird, unlike the one near the jebals, was approachable and allowed some decent photographs to be taken. Many of the spring birds have black bills which is not depicted in the field guides but the lack of black extending over the face and amount of white in the closed wing is typical of Mauryan (Steppe) Grey Shrike.
Mauryan (Steppe) Grey Shrike
Mauryan (Steppe) Grey Shrike
Mauryan (Steppe) Grey Shrike
Turkestan Shrikes were seen in the spray fields and perched on the fence surrounding the percolation pond and Daurian Shrikes were seen in both areas as well. Other decent birds seen included a Lesser Whitethroat, three Eurasian Reed Warblers, a Western Marsh Harrier and four Garganey on or around the pond. Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin and Pallid Swift were all overhead.
Turkestan Shrike
Turkestan Shrike 
Garganey
 Four pied Wheatears and 50+ Black-headed Wagtails were also present near the settling pond with males, females and immature birds all present together. Two Green Sandpipers, two Common Redshank and a Little Ringed Plover were all on the settling pond. A very smart adult male Pallid Harrier was seen over the scrubby desert area before relocating to the spray fields and was the first bird of this species I have seen on the 'patch' this year.
Black-headed Wagtail - male
Black-headed Wagtail - female
Pallid Harrier - adult male
Pallid Harrier - adult male

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