30 July 2012

Crab Plovers - Abu Ali Island

I set off on an early morning trip to Sabkhat Al Fasl and Abu Ali Island with Bob Roberts to see if we could find any Egyptian Nightjars as Bob had not seen any for many years since his last sighting in Bahrain. When we arrived at Sabkhat Al Fasl we saw quite a few terns gathered in one area including many White-cheeked Terns. These were adults and juveniles with many of the juveniles loudly begging for food from the adult birds. Twenty-two Caspian Terns were also present along with a single winter plumaged White-winged Tern and five Little/Saunder’s Terns.
White-cheeked Tern - juvenile
White-cheeked Tern - begging juvenile & adult

Migrants were very thin on the ground today with the only sightings being a single Barn Swallow and two Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters. Luckily we managed to get excellent views of an Egyptian Nightjar (see previous post for photographs) in the normal place we see the species in the summer at this location as well as a second bird by the edge of the reed beds by the main sabkha area. Purple Swamphens were about in good numbers and a few Clamorous Reed Warblers were busy collecting food for their young. A very good record of five juvenile Eurasian Spoonbills were seen in flight over the main scrape area where two summer plumaged Grey Plovers were also seen. Four White-winged Terns were seen flying around here also along with three Little Ringed Plovers, three Common Sandpipers, several Little Stints and five Curlew Sandpipers.
White-winged Tern - moulting adult

After looking at Sabkhat Al Fasl we went to Abu Ali Island and again few birds were about. A very nice sight though were two Crab Plovers on the water edge at high tide just after the security check post leading onto the island. This site has has up to 120 birds present during the big oil spill of 1991 but very few have been seen here since. These birds were an adult with a begging juvenile, which is the first young bird I have seen this year. Several Whmbrel were also in the same area. At the main lagoon there was a single Great Crested Grebe, twelve Greater Flamingos and 50+ White-cheeked Terns.