23 January 2012

Marsh Terns - Sabkhat Al Fasl

Another early morning visit to Sabkhat Al Fasl produced the normal sighting of Greater Spotted Eagle as the first bird of the day. As mentioned in the post on the injured Greater Spotted Eagle, I saw nine different birds during the day, which is the highest number I have seen at the site in a day. Western Marsh Harriers were flying about in good numbers with at least ten birds seen plus three birds resting in the scrubby area at first light.
Western Marsh Harrier

The temperature was cold being only eight degrees Celsius but there was no wind so it was not too bad. It did keep the passerine numbers down though with only two Siberian Stonechat, six Graceful Prinias, 50 White Wagtails and 60+ Water Pipits.
Siberian Stonechat (female)

A lot more waders were about today today with three Wood Sandpipers, three Green Sandpipers, three Spotted Redshank, three Common Greenshank, seven Marsh Sandpiper, 70+ Common Redshank, 200+ Little Stint and 500+ Pied Avocet.
 Wood Sandpiper

Spotted Redshank

There were more duck about that I have seen at the site before with 89 Common Shelduck, 39 Northern Pintail, eight Eurasian Teal and one Eurasian Wigeon. The most amazing sight of the day though was the number of marsh terns present. At first light I went to a new area of the site I had not visited before and saw at least 22 Whiskered Terns. This was only the second time I had seen the species at the site and I was very happy to see them and also get good views. The light was too poor for photography and I left them thinking I would come back later to try to get some photographs of them before I left to travel back to Dhahran. As it turned out I did not have to go back to this location as I saw many more later on in good light and managed to take a number of reasonable photographs of them. This second flock of marsh terns included White-winged Terns as well as Whiskered Terns and they gave heart views in excellent light.
 White-winged Tern

 Whiskered Tern

Whiskered Tern