10 January 2013

Plenty of Daurian Shrikes - Sabkhat Al Fasl

Whilst birding at Sabkhat Al Fasl I became aware there was a lot more Daurian Shrikes around the location than on my previous visit. There were in fact many new birds seen including two very early Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters and a flock of over 30 Eurasian Skylarks which is a very high count for this site. At least nine Daurian Shrikes were seen with most being immature or female birds with the exception of one male. Bluethroat numbers were also up with at least six birds seen and many tens heard calling from the reeds and undergrowth. Three male Siberian Stonechats were present along with a single female and 50 plus Water Pipits and White Wagtails. Plenty of Western Marsh Harriers were still about including a single young male and seven Greater Spotted Eagles with one adult. Gull numbers were very high with 1000+ Large White-headed Gulls including 85% Steppe Gulls, 10% Heuglin’s Gulls and 5% Caspian Gulls seen and over 500 Common Black-headed Gulls were also seen. Water levels were very high and the flooded sabkha is now inundated with water. 18 Common Shelducks were seen here along with six Eurasian Teals and 100+ Pied Avocets.
Daurian Shrike
Black-necked Grebe
Siberian Stonechat
Black-headed Gull
Greater Spotted Eagle
Western Marsh Harrier