06 July 2012

Egyptian Nightjar - Sabkhat Al Fasl

I made a very early start to get the Sabkhat Al Fasl for first light. The driving was not pleasant as there was a strong Shamal wind blowing (north-westerly) which was causing a lot of sand and dust to be blown around. At some stages visibility was down to about twenty metres but I made it safely to the site even if at a slower pace than normal. There has not been too much about at the site for the last few weeks but today I found a resting Egyptian Nightjar sheltering from the sun and wind under a small shrub. It was in the same general area where we always see them but this is slightly earlier than previous records which are mainly in August. This is now the eight year in a row the species has been seen at this site and it is now almost guaranteed during July – August.

Egyptian Nightjar

The strong wind was keeping many birds down low and not much flying activity was seen. This concentrated a large flock of Saunder’s Terns and White-cheeked Terns in a small area and allowed for some chances of photographing the birds in flight. Both species had juveniles in attendance with adults so it looks like it was a reasonable breeding season for both species locally. Talking of breeding White-cheeked Terns our trip to ring them on Al Jarrim Islands tomorrow has had to be cancelled due to the strong winds, hopefully we can go next weekend if the weather is better.

Saunder's Tern (adult)
Saunder's Tern (juvenile)
White-cheeked Tern (adult)

 Migrants are slowly starting to trickle through with the Egyptian Nightjar being one. Other migrants seen included seven Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters, one Green Sandpiper, three Wood Sandpipers, one Sand Martin and five Barn Swallows. 
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater