I first observed a Shoveler in mid-October at the local patch, then a second one a week later. They have remained together since then, with their plumage in transition.
First bird observed in mid October. Note black bill
Second bird observed in late October with paler bill
Both birds seen feeding together for easy comparison
Now in early December this bird has a darker head, heading towards the glossy green it will attain. A tinge of the chestnut is also appearing on the flanks
Note both birds now have black bills. This one is still showing a lighter head, but more advanced white on the breast area
Seen here the plumage progression can be compared with the similar image ot the two birds together from approximately six weeks ago
I was kindly called onto this bird by Jolynn van Duffelen. It was roosting in a grove of trees, very well camouflaged in the upper branches. The wind was blowing, moving the branches backwards and forwards making it difficult for a clear image. All the same I am very pleased to have been able to connect with the bird as they are listed as scarce resident breeders. This sighting takes my Owl count to three species in Qatar now.
I started at the lower ponds hoping to catch a glimpse of the Swamphens but some shooters were patrolling so I presumed I was wasting my time as most of the birds were hiding in the reedbeds. Next I went looking for the Sociable Lapwing. Here I also drew a blank but there were good numbers of both Northern and Red Wattled Lapwings in the fields. I will just have to persevere later in the week. Whilst I was patrolling there was as usual always something to see
Male European Stonechat with juicy Caterpillar
Male Namaqua Dove
Common Snipe at the same spot as the other day
Next to the road was a small puddle and as I drove passed I noticed some movement. It ended up being four waders feeding quietly in the water and the grass at the edge of the road.They continued going about their business even though several trucks drove past on there way to load hay bales
Common Snipe. There were two birds feeding together
Here the second bird crouches low to the ground as a truck drives past
A Wood Sandpiper was also in attendance
As was this Green Sandpiper
I took a drive up to the port to see what Gull and Tern activity I could find. There was a good mix of birds circling around on the look-out for scraps from the Dhows that were in the harbour off-loadig their catches and cleaning their decks. Unfortunatly no early sighting of the one bird I was hoping to possible see, the Great Black-headed Gull.
Socotra Cormorant. My first sighting of this species in a long time
A Great Cormrant flying low over the water as it arrives at the harbour entrance for a spot of fishing
A Common Black-headed Gull
One of several LWHG circling overhead
Another LWHG circling overhead
This bird had what looked like some adhesive tape stuck around its beak
There must have been a Kestrel convention on the go as they could be seen everywhere. They were flying overhead, perched on the ground and then also up on the overhead pylons which seems to be their favourite spot. There wwere also some overwintering Harriers on offer as usual
A Common Kestrel glides past overhead keeping an eye on me
Here one is perched on a rock busy devouring what looks like a locust it has caught
Here in the early morning light one uses the overhead pylon as a look-out perch
A male Western Marsh Harrier perches on a bale
A Montagu's Harrier perches on a rusty roll of baling twine
Here are some images taken on the farm thus far this week
Common Starling. I have seen these on the farm before but this is my first image of the species
Common Black-headed Gull seen here on one of the dams
Song Thrush still showing
A Mauryan Shrike about to despatch a grasshopper
A Desert Wheatear blends in nicely on top of these these rocks
A Daurian Shrike with breakfast
A Eurasian Hoopoe enjoying probing into the soft ground after the rain
A Corn Bunting warming up in the early morning sun
After the heavy rain everything was wet and there was surface water lying everywhere. It was cool early in the morning and I saw my first Black-headed Gull so it would seem Winter is on its way. It looks like the Northern Shoveler's plumage is changing. Hopefully they will hang around long enough for me to record the complete transition.
A Little Grebe. It was shadowing a pair of Mallards on the pond. I think it was feeling a bit lonely
My first Black-headed Gulls of the Winter. Two of them were present. They were slightly oiled on their breasts.
The one gull swam to close to the Indian Pond Heron's feeding spot and was chased off with a quick aggressive display
One of two Squacco Heron present today. It can be compared with the Indian Pond Heron pictured below
The Indian Pond Heron at its favourite feeding spot
A Green Sandpiper feeds nearby
One of the Northern Shovelers starting to show more white on the breast
Indian Reed Warbler
Thus far I have dipped on the Black-throated Thrush which several birders has recently recorded on the farm. This is a second record for Qatar. I have had to be happy with two scarce records in a Song Thrush and a flock of approximately 10 Northern Lapwings instead. I will continue to see if I can connect with the BTT over the next couple of days before it moves off.
Song Thrush. I previously recorded this species here on 24/11/2015
Northern Lapwing. I previously recorded this species here on the 20/01/2014
I was able to see and photograph several raptors this morning.
Dark Morph Marsh Harrier
Short-toed Snake Eagle
Pale Morph Long-legged Buzzard