25 Jan 2014

Northern Lapwings and more – Ash Shargiyah Development Company Farm

Phil and I went to Ash Shargiyah Development Company Farm on Saturday setting off very early in torrential rain. The weather was very poor so driving had to be done at a much-reduced speed and we got to the site just as it was getting light. The heavy cloud cover and rain meant that even though it was about thirty minutes after sunrise birds were just leaving their roost sites in the reed beds as we arrived. The large lake held very few birds but a Black-necked Grebe was a nice site on the grey looking lake. Two male Northern Shovellers and a very out of place Greater Flamingo were new site species for us both. We then proceeded to one of the cut pivot irrigation fields and found it be very productive with 30 Northern Lapwings and fifty European Starlings in a small flock. The birds were very flighty but as I had only seen one Northern Lapwing before in Saudi Arabia we followed the flock around a little and eventually got some distant photos of them. One the way out of the field we came across a flock of 200+ Eurasian Skylarks and found a small group out in the open giving reasonable views. Ten bedraggled Meadow Pipits were also present in the field along with a male Pallid Harrier.
Northern Lapwing
Northern Lapwing
Pallid Harrier - male
Pallid Harrier - male
Eurasian Skylark
The desert areas had a minimum of four adult male Desert Wheatears and several Eurasian Sparrowhawks. Five Common Kestrels were over and around the pivot fields, two more male Pallid Harriers, two Marsh Harriers and plenty of White Wagtails were along the main road and surroundings. A few Black-winged Stilts were in flooded areas and a single Corn Bunting was in one of the pivot fields along with 27 additional Northern Lapwing making a total of almost sixty birds. A large flock of House Sparrows had a single Spanish Sparrow amongst them and a small flock of ten Spanish Sparrow were seen on their own elsewhere on the farm. Even though the weather was terrible we had a good days birding and saw five species we had not seen before at the site, Northern Lapwing, Eurasian Starling, Corn Bunting, Greater Flamingo and Northern Shoveller.
Western Marsh Harrier being mobbed by Northern Lapwing



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