06 April 2014

Larks, Pipits and Wagtails - Sabkhat Al Fasl

A quick trip of two hours to Sabkhat Al Fasl on the way home from the north of the province produced a few interesting birds but nothing spectacular. Good numbers of Greater Short-toed Larks had been seen further north, but only two were seen here in with many Tree Pipits. A common Kingfisher was seen briefly perched and in flight before disappearing for good and on close inspection was a male (wholly black bill) which was interesting as all the Common Kingfishers we have caught here, as well as at nearby Alba Marsh in Bahrain have been females. Plenty of Squacco Herons are still present some in full breeding plumage making it more apparent these birds are now resident at this site. A few terns were flying about including a number of Little Terns, Gull-billed Terns and Caspian Terns. Winter birds are fast disappearing although there were still a few Steppe Gulls, one Great Cormorant, several White Wagtails and seven Western Marsh Harriers including an adult male. Almost all the Western Marsh Harriers seen at this site are juveniles or females with males being very uncommon. An interesting sight involving a Western Marsh Harrier was one being mobbed by two House Crows, a species I had not seen previously at the site. At least 5000 Greater Flamingos were still on the flooded Sabkha area but very little else. A Western Osprey was on the ground on the sabkha eating a fish and a second calendar year Greater Spotted Eagle was seen in flight over the reed beds. It is getting late for this species now and I assume it will depart in the next couple of weeks? Migrants were thin on the ground with a few Daurian and Turkestan Shrikes, many adult males in fine plumage, several Barn Swallows and a female Siberian Stonechat the highlights.
Greater Short-toed Lark
Common Kingfisher - male
Daurian Shrike
Turkestan Shrike
House Crow mobbing Western Marsh Harrier
Western Marsh Harrier - male