1 Dec 2011

Little Crake - Sabkhat Al Fasl

Another early morning trip to Sabkhat Al Fasl produced a number of good birds. One of the first birds we saw, as normal at this site in the winter, was a Greater Spotted Eagle sitting on a post. Four further Greater Spotted Eagles were seen during the day. The water levels were very high at the main pools as a large amount of rain had fallen in the previous days. European Stonechat where present in good numbers with up to six different birds seen. Common Moorhen were the most common bird with many hundreds seen and Purple Swamphen seen although in smaller numbers than in the summer months. Small flocks of Common Starling have just arrived for the winter with over 30 birds seen. Many Clamorous Reed Warblers were heard in the reed beds and one unusual warbler was seen at close range in the reeds that did not fit anything we had seen before. Whilst looking at this bird we also saw an immature Little Crake at the edge of the reed bed that gave good but brief views. This is the first time Phil and I have seen the species at this location and it is an uncommon visitor although almost certainly overlooked due to its secretive nature. I saw two adults in the spring on the 'patch' but these are the only ones I have seen and this is the first autumn record I have seen. Little Grebes were about in small numbers with both summer and winter plumaged birds. A Western Osprey was seen flying over with two Caspian Terns and a Gull-billed Tern. I saw my first Common Shelduck for Saudi Arabia but unfortunately it was dead having been shot and left on the side of the lake. Water Pipits and White Wagtails were seen with about 30+of each species along with a single partially summer plumaged Citrine Wagtail.
 Common Moorhen
 Purple Swamphen
 Little Grebe
 Little Grebe
 Little Grebe
Water Pipit

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