This is not a birding post, but I thought these images may be of some interest.
One of the large dunes we passed along the way
A large compacted depression in amongst the dunes along the main access route
A view across the Inland Sea towards Saudi Arabia
Our braai (barbeque) spot on the shores of the Inland Sea
Double click on button above for more information on The Inland Sea
European Stonechat. Last seen here way back in the beginning of March
There were several juvenile White-winged Terns. Here one takes a rest from its aerial patrolling over the ponds
There was a single Cattle Egret in attendance
There were a small number of White Wagtails today
As usual the resident Indian Silverbills were busy feeding on grass seeds
Every time I go to the farm I check out the reedbeds to see what Warblers are around. Thus far all I have recorded are the resident Indian Reed Warblers. I live in hope though, that one day something like a Savi's or a Sedge Warbler will show up. Or better still, if a Basra Reed Warbler arrived that really would be a mega tick.
Indian Reed Warbler
Indian Reed warbler
Indian Reed Warbler. Note lack of tail. I think this may be a juvenile bird. Any opinions?
I came across this Isabelline Wheatear the other day and watched as it went about its grooming routine
A big feather fluff out to start things off
Important flight feather alignment
Right side wing and leg stretch
Followed by the left side stretch
A quick head scratch to finish off
All good to go
Charlene and Michael were en route home to Florida, U.S.A. They decided to stop over for a couple of days to spend some time exploring Qatar. Having seen the Lilith Owl images on my blog they were keen to connect with these lovely birds. As luck would have it we managed to find owls in two different locations which was a nice bonus.
Lilith Owl number one in soft early morning light. When this bird retired into its burrow we headed off to another site to try our luck
Lilith Owl number two. This bird is normally quite shy and does not linger out in the open for long. However it put on a grand show for the visitors and perched on top of a prominent rock. They were able to capture images of preening, head scratching, stretching and even a nice big yawn, much to their delight.
I could not get them in range of the Marsh Harriers that were patrolling over the fields, but there were also many Common Kestrels which were slightly more obliging
We also located a few Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters
A 1st Winter Male Pied Wheatear
We also happened upon four European Rollers in a party with some of the Bee-eaters. This individual took a break from preening to check up on us. Even though it is an Autumn bird it is still showing good colour
Other species include: Western Marsh Harrier, Yellow Wagtail, Barn Swallow, Isabelline Wheatear, Arabian Grey Shrike, Common Sandpiper, Red-wattled Lapwing,Tawny Pipit, Crested Lark, Eurasian Hoopoe, Namaqua Dove and the rest.
A few images of a single bird seen at my local patch early the other morning. I had previously posted this as a Meadow Pipit. Experienced birder Neil Morris kindly corrected me. Note the white and black braces down the back which are diagnostic. Thanks to Neil for pointing me in the right direction. The red throat is only visible in Spring when these birds are unmistakable. See an image below.
Red-throated Pipit photographed in March when the throat patch is clearly visible
I was at my local patch today and bumped into the Egyptian Geese again after a fairly lengthy absence. I think they are part of somebodies collection as they seem to come and go. Today I was pleased to see three birds. It looks like one was a juvenile so I think they have bred recently.
A pair of Namaqua Doves sitting quietly on a branch.
There were several Common Kestrels to be seen.
A Turkestan Shrike against a backdrop of dry grass
An adult Barn Swallow. There were large numbers present today
There were also some juvenile Barn Swallows present. Note absence of tail streamers and paler breast band and forehead
A Green Sandpiper gives me the once over
I spent some time with one of the Lilith Owls again. I managed to record some of its early morning routine before it retired into the burrow to rest up for the remainder of the day
On full alert
Right side scratch
Left side scratch
Leg and wing stretch
Feather fluff up
Overhead scan for threats
Classic perch with one claw tucked away
Oh dear me I think its time for bed
I visited Irkaya Farm the other day. It was fairly quiet which was a bit of a disappointment. The highlight was my first sighting of a Tawny Pipit this Autumn. There were several vehicles driving around inside down in one of the Wadi areas,. When I approached they sped off and made their exit at a place where the boundary fence had been pushed flat. As they doubled back and drove past me on the outside of the fence I could see that they had Falcons with them in their vehicles. Obviously they were out hunting. Not a good sign as I have heard that there are plans afoot to turn the farm into a Nature Reserve.
There is evidence that the Common Moorhens are breeding on one of the overnight storage dams
Another wave of Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters was present. Here one perches on the support wire of the centre pivot irrigation unit, using it as a mobile look-out point
A lovely sharp image of a Crested Lark against a OOF background.
One of the numerous Arabian Grey Shrikes that are present. The Turkestan and Daurian Shrikes from my last visit were not to be seen.
Other species included: Greater Short-toed Lark, Western Marsh Harrier, Lilith Owl, Corn Bunting, Barn Swallow, White Wagtail, Red Wattled Lapwing, Common Kestrel, Grey Heron, Common Sandpiper, Eurasian Hoopoe, Isabelline Wheatear, Kentish Plover, Namaqua Dove and the rest.