9 Oct 2015

New site species – Sabkhat Al Fasl

Phil and I went to Sabkhat Al Fasl on Friday and managed to see a few good birds including one species new to both of us for the location. The species in question was Thrush Nightingale that we flushed from the edge of the reeds a couple of times before we got good enough view to identify it. Unfortunately no photos were taken of the bird as we were busy trying to get conclusive identification features. Thrush Nightingale is an uncommon or scarce species in the Eastern Province of the Kingdom but is more common than Common Nightingale. We also saw a few other migrants including Turkestan and Daurian Shrikes, Spotted Flycatcher, Tree Pipits, Yellow Wagtails, Great Reed Warbler, European Bee-eaters, Barn Swallows and Sand Martins. Numbers were well down compared to September but there was enough to keep things interesting. A few ducks were about with Northern Shoveler, Garganey and one Eurasian Teal seen and plenty of Herons with hundreds of Grey Herons, one Purple Heron, Western Cattle Egret, Indian Reef Herons and Little Egrets. Waders were about in good numbers with most being Little Stints, Black-winged Stilts, Kentish Plovers and Common Ringed Plovers. Dunlins, Marsh Sandpipers, Common Redshanks, Common Greenshanks, Green Sandpipers and a single Common Snipe were also seen in reasonable numbers. A single Common Kingfisher and plenty of terns were also present with White-winged Terns being the commonest followed by Caspian Terns, Little Terns and Gull-billed Terns. As always Grey-headed Swamphens and Common Moorhens were plentiful. Western Marsh Harriers are back in good numbers for the winter with well over ten birds seen during the day and Greater Flamingo numbers are also increasing for the winter with several hundred birds already on the flooded sabkha. A single Western Osprey was also seen flying over but little else regarding raptors.
Turkestan Shrike
Turkestan Shrike 
Caspian Terns
Caspian Terns

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