25 April 2013

Plenty of migrants – Sabkhat Al Fasl

An early morning start combined with some overnight and early morning rain led us to hope for a good mornings birding at Sabkhat Al Fasl. Before we had even arrived at the site we had, had a few small groups of European Bee-eaters flying over indicating birds may have been grounded by the poor weather. The drive along the roadside edge of the site had three Common Redstarts, one Upcher’s Warbler, two Lesser Whitethroats a Common Whitethroat and a European Sparrowhawk. Shrikes were also visible along this stretch with Lesser Grey Shrike, Red-backed Shrike, Turkestan Shrike and Daurian Shrike all seen. Lesser Grey Shrike is not a common species at Sabkhat Al Fasl so was a nice start to the day. A few Wheatears were also seen including northern Wheatear and Pied Wheatear.
Northern Wheatear
The back area by the concrete bund had a few migrants as well with the best bird being a Wryneck that although out in the open for much of the time always eluded being photographed. Plenty of Willow Warblers were scattered about the entire site indicating the number of birds that had settled overnight. European Bee-eaters were about in good numbers and two Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters were also seen. Six Yellow Wagtails included five beema and one thunbergi were feeding on the ground and plenty of Clamorous Reed Warblers were singing.
Willow Warbler
Clamorous Reed Warbler
A single European Roller was an unusual site. Waders were seen in small numbers with most being Little Stints, one Dunlin, one Terek Sandpiper, Seven Common Snipe, one Little Ringed Plover, three Temmink's Stints and five Wood Sandpipers. Two Spotted Crakes were seen at different locations, but remained hidden for much of the time. Birds of prey included a single Greater Spotted Eagle and seven Western Marsh Harriers including one and possibly two adult male birds.
Common Snipe
Little Ringed Plover
Temminck's Stint
Spotted Crake