27 April 2013

Another arrival of Shrikes - Dhahran Hills

The large movement of birds through Dhahran has continued probably helped by the unsettled weather of cloud and strong, mainly northerly, winds. Last Saturday we had a large arrival of shrikes, but over the next few days they gradually reduced in numbers. Then another arrival of shrikes occurred and again many species were associated with it. The largest numbers were Red-backed Shrikes with over 20 birds seen including adult males, adult females and juvenile males. Eight Turkestan Shrikes and six Daurian Shrikes were in the spray fields, which is a big increase in the number of Daurian Shrikes seen recently where only one or two have been seen. Two Lesser Grey Shrikes were giving good views at the edge of the spray fields and a single adult male Woodchat Shrike was seen in the spray fields as well.
Lesser Grey Shrike
Lesser Grey Shrike
Red-backed Shrike - adult male
Red-backed Shrike - immature male
Woodchat Shrike - adult male

An impressive ten plus Whinchats were in the spray fields with a small group of 15 Ortolan Buntings still feeding on the seed heads but now in a different area of the field. Red-throated Pipits were common but always hiding in the long grass and many Willow Warblers were doing likewise. Two brownish grey Common Chiffchaffs were seen in the trees along the edge of the fields and were probably tristris types. A single dark phase Western Marsh Harrier was hunting over the fields and a large number of at least thirty Yellow Wagtails were still present including some quite bright lutea/flavissima type birds. Pallid Swifts and Sand Martins were still present in good numbers and two Little Stints and two Wood Sandpipers were feeding on the flooded area along with a late Western Cattle Egret, the first bird of this species I have seen for a couple of weeks.
Ortolan Bunting