Never mind Buckingham Palace or any other fine establishment, how about this for five star accommodation
Pigeon roosting towers seen near Simsima in Qatar
I visited the local patch yesterday after a break of two weeks. I managed to record 30 species which is a good haul as far as my lists for this location go. Amongst these were a Grey Plover last seen here in December 2013 and a Common Snipe last seen here in week 8 of this year. Wheatear numbers were up as well as some White Wagtails were to be seen
One of two Common Snipe seen today
Of the several Garganey that arrived a few weeks ago, this one was the only one seen today. It was a bit more obliging and allowed me to get this nice sharp image
Only one Eurasian Hoopoe was seen. I presume the others have all moved on
The resident Mallard type drake was having a lovely time making a splash in the pond
A 1st year Pied Wheatear
A portrait of a Grey Francolin, one of the resident species
Other species included: Arabian Grey Shrike, Daurian Shrike, Indian Silverbill, Dunlin (approx. 50), Yellow Wagtail, Red-vented Bulbul, White-eared Bulbul, Western Cattle Egret, Little Grebe, Masked Shrike, Isabelline Wheatear, Black-winged Stilt, Common Sandpiper, Common Redshank, Ortolan Bunting, Ruff, Crested Lark, Eurasian Curlew and the rest.
Here are some recent images of shrikes that I have taken. Some of the ID's are easier than others. I have attached my attempts. Any comments / assistance would be greatly appreciated.
Arabian Grey Shrike
Male Turkestan Shrike
Male Turkestan Shrike. Note more rust on flanks more grey above and less noticeable supercilium. Possible male Daurian Shrike?
Daurian Shrike tbc
Female Turkestan Shrike tbc. Note lack of barring on crown
Daurian Shrike tbc.
Various forms of the Yellow Wagtail have been passing through for some time now. Here is my first sighting of a White Wagtail for this Autumn migration
White Wagtail. Seen here feeding early on the morning of the 6th October
While traveling along the northern coastline I came across this single bird. It looks to me like a juvenile as it is still showing grey plumage on the crown and wings. I wonder if it is a bird dispersing from the large breeding colony that is to be found on Bubiyan Island in Kuwait?
I include this image I took of a Crab-plover doing a fly-by along the Kuwait coastline in September 2010
Female Common Kestrel
A female Montagu's Harrier
This Lilith Owl gives me the stare
A patrolling Western Marsh Harrier
A Western Marsh Harrier drying out in the early morning sunshine.
From time immemorial the annual migration of flocks of wild birds from their summer to their winter quarters, has been harried and followed by passaging birds of prey, including the sakers, peregrines, and lanners, which are of interest to the Arab falconer. These migrations follow regular airways, with the falcons following their preferred quarry. Over the ages the falconers and trappers have discovered those places, and have evolved a variety of methods to outwit and capture them. One such method is the Choca or hide. These Choca sites will be operated year after year during season by the trappers. Captured birds are then either trained and used or they are sold through the hawk merchants. There are two operating trap sites along the northern coastline of Qatar that I know about, and both of them are in currently in use
A Common Kestrel with attached lure and control line leading to the trapper who is out of view in the hide or Choca. When the Kestrel flies on the line the lure looks like prey, which attracts the attention of the passing falcons. If a bird flies down to investigate a live dove is used in conjunction with clap nets to ensnare it. The trapper pulls on a line and a dove is released from a pot in the ground on an attached string. As it flies up into the air it is preyed upon by the investigating falcon. Later as the falcon is busy eating its captured prey the trapper slowly pulls on the string attached to the dove. The dragging movement does not unduly worry the falcon which has probably experienced being dragged about by large quarry it may have taken in the wild. Once the falcon has been dragged into position the trapper pulls on another cord which releases the clap net to fall over the falcon
This image taken at the second site shows the Kestrel on the ground with the attached lure lying close by. To an overflying falcon it will appear as if this bird has just made a kill. Note the different coloured lure being used here
The Choca (hide). See the lines leading out to the clap nets positioned in a cleared area. The Kestrel is positioned out of sight to the right of the picture, perching on its pedestal. The Arabian Gulf is just visible in the background
Source: Arab Falconry - History of a way of life. Author: Roger Upton
The birds are on the move. I hear the calls of the Bee-eaters as they pass overhead, The first wave of Yellow Wagtails has come and gone. I spotted my first "white-headed gulls" the other day, more and more shrikes are to be seen perched on branches and hawking insects, Swallows and Martins are seen skimming the water, the Hoopoes have been about for a while now. Various waders have been recorded along the coast and at inland water bodies. The list is growing. Yesterday I was able to add these three migrants to the numbers
A single Red-necked Phalarope, seen here busy feeding
A 1st year Common Whitethroat
A European Roller