09 June 2014

Squacco Heron breeding? – Sabkaht Al Fasl

Last weekend Phil and I went to Sabkhat Al Fasl and found five Squacco Herons in full breeding plumage. The species is very common at the site on spring and autumn migration as well as in the winter but is scarce in summer. Birds do occur here year round and are suspected to breed but we have found no positive evidence yet that they do. These summer records add more circumstantial evidence of breeding. Other herons we saw included five Little Egrets and several Indian Reef Herons of both white and dark morphs. Migrants included two Red-backed Shrikes, several Barn Swallows and six Common Swifts. Singing Caspian Reed Warblers and Clamorous Reed Warblers were in evidence all over the site and must breed in large numbers. A single Eurasian Spoonbill was seen, two Black-headed Gulls and a Caspian Gull were still present and plenty of waders. Most were Black-winged Stilts and Kentish Plovers but there were also several Terek Sandpipers and Ruddy Turnstones and one Lesser Sand Plover. Terns were still common with most being White-cheeked and Little Terns. Just before we left we saw an adult male Black-crowned Sparrow Lark and uncommon species for the site.
Squacco Heron - breeding plumage
Indian Reef Heron - dark morph
Red-backed Shrike
Common Swift
Terek Sandpipers
Terek Sandpiper
Lesser Sand Plover
Little Tern
Black-crowned Sparrow Lark