20 May 2013

Migration slowing down – Sabkhat Al Fasl

An early morning trip to Sabkhat Al Fasl turned out to be fairly quiet. There were still plenty of Red-backed Shrikes, with over twenty seen during the visit, as well as Willow Warblers, but not really much else. Passerine migrants included an Upcher’s Warbler, ten Spotted Flycatchers, three Common Redstarts, one Daurian Shrike and a Eurasian Turtle Dove that appeared to be collecting nesting material. Several Sand Martins and Barn Swallows were flying over with one or two European Bee-eaters but very little else.
Common Redstart
Spotted Flycatcher
Herons were represented by seven Little Bitterns, two Grey Herons, one Purple Heron and ten Squacco Herons. Very few waders were seen but evidence of breeding was noted for Kentish Plovers and Little Ringed Plover with several very young Kentish Plovers seen with parents looking on and two juvenile Little Ringed Plover that must have bred somewhere nearby. Other passage waders included a few Curlew Sandpipers in summer plumage and a few Little Stints
Kentish Plover - chicks
Kentish Plover
Little Ringed Plover - juvenile
Curlew Sandpiper
Curlew Sandpiper
Terns are becoming more obvious with the most common species seen now being White-cheeked Terns. Several were sitting around and other flying over the flooded sabkha area. Three Caspian Terns were seen along with several Little Terns in various plumages.
White-cheeked Tern
White-cheeked Tern
Caspian Tern
 The only other birds seen of note were three Black-crowned Sparrow-Larks, two males and a female, which are not seen too often at this location. Seeing this species as well as the breeding waders really gave me the feeling spring is almost over and summer has finally arrived in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.
Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark - male
Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark - female