14 May 2012

White-cheeked Terns - Sabkhat Al Fasl

Another early morning trip to Sabkhat Al Fasl saw me arrive at 06:00 hrs. On entering the site I failed to see Great Spotted Eagle which is normally the first bird I see but later on I saw an adult sitting in the flattened reed area at the back of the site. A few shrikes were in the scrubby Desert area on the way to the reed beds including three Daurian Shrikes, Turkestan Shrike and one female Red-backed Shrike. A Northern Wheatear was the only other good bird present. The main pools held a good number of terns with 78 Whiskered Terns, 28 White-cheeked Terns, three White-winged Terns and six Saunder's Little Terns. The White-cheeked Terns are the first ones I have seen for some time at the site and included pairs of birds of which one would catch a fish a feed it to another. Six Caspian Terns were flying around the main flooded sabkha area which is now drying out quickly as the temperatures have increased significantly over the last two weeks (40 degrees Celsius today).
White-cheeked Tern

A few migrants were still about including seven Willow Warblers, two Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin and a Corncrake (see previous post). Waders were thin on the ground but there were still a few Ruff and two Spotted Redshank to liven things up. Kentish Plovers were plentiful with many using distraction techniques of pretending to be injured to lure me away from their young. A few Purple Swamphens are still visible out in the open but little else of note was seen.


Kentish Plover
Purple Swamphen