After only fleeting views of mainly flushed birds over the last few weeks I had a morning where a couple of birds were much more obliging and allowed me to get some lovely images
Common Snipe ( Gallinago gallinago)
I sat and watched this Juvenile bird which I found concealed in the cover of this overhanging Bougainvillea bush.
It stayed motionless in the dappled shade cover for ages
Finally my patience paid off when it started to move out into the open
Poised and ready it waited for some unsuspecting prey to come within range
Something was in its radar as it leant further forward preparing to strike
Neck extended it attempted to spear something. Note the nictitating membrane protecting the eye
Unfortunately the bird missed out on a meal and I missed out on a possible image with catch. Nonetheless still an absorbing sequence
Some images of recent raptor sightings
Reported the other day by John, this bird continues to grace us with its company. I was fortunate enough to connect with it this morning.
A B.I.F. shot showing the wing pattern of what looks like a juvenile bird
Type Greater Spotted Eagle in the search bar above to see my last year's record of this raptor species as well as a World Distribution Map, and a link to the Birdlife International Fact sheet on this Vulnerable species
This Osprey seems to be enjoying the fishing on offer at the new flooded area adjacent to the farm
What looks like the rare, dark morph, Western Marsh Harrier
Adult female Western Marsh Harrier
Here is a selection of some small Waders that I have come across recently.
Greater Sand Plover
Wood Sandpiper. My first of the season
Common Ringed Plover
Steppe Grey Shrike
Great Reed Warbler
Juvenile Barn Swallow
John and Dileep had both seen a Greater Spotted Eagle on the farm the other day. I decided to take an afternoon drive out to see if I could connect with the bird before it moved on. Sadly I dipped on the Eagle but my disappointment was tempered when I managed to get good visuals of a Pied Kingfisher. I saw it at one of the night storage dams on the farm, but unfortunately a patrolling Marsh Harrier flew over the reed beds where it was perched and disturbed it. Later when I went to try and connect with some Snipe that John had given me directions for I came across the bird again.
Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis)
Note the single breast band of a female bird
Not the lovely refreshing beverage with a slice of lemon in it, but some Gulls and Terns patrolling the harbour on the look out for discarded fish from the Dhows. I spent some time trying to capture B.I.F. shots as they circled overhead waiting to pounce on any fish or scraps of food discarded by the crews as they went about sorting their catches and cleaning their craft
A large White-headed Gull in a dive to collect a discarded fish floating on the surface
The Gulls and Terns were patrolling back and forth around the dhows on the look-out for tasty morsels
Here is a younger Gull
Today I saw my first Slender-billed Gulls of the Autumn. A large flock was present at Fuwairit Beach earlier. Some were in the party here as well
A single Lesser Crested Tern was seen
There were several Caspian Terns in the mix. Unmistakable with the large bright orange bills
One of a couple of Gull-billed Terns doing the rounds. This is also my first sighting of this species this Autumn
I came across these two birds up in Al Ruwais. They had just been fishing and had come out of the water to dry off their feathers. Note the pale breast feathers of varying degrees which denotes that these are still juvenile birds. This species of cormorant is endemic to the Arabian Gulf and the South-east coast of the Arabian Peninsular. They are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.
Socotra Cormorant ( Phalacrocorax nigrogularis)
Differentiated from the related species, the Great Cormorant, by the lack of bare yellow skin in the chin area, a finer bill and no white markings on the head
Note the defecation on the legs and feet that assists in cooling
This image was taken in May 2015 at the end of the breeding season on one of the islands off the coast. Several thousand birds were present representing a very large portion of the total species population. This is probably one of the largest, if not the largest breeding colony for these birds
A juvenile bird flying overhead at the breeding colony in May 2015
There are two sites on the North coast that I know about from where they operate traditional hawk traps. If you type Trapping Hawks into the search bar at the top right hand corner of the page you will be taken to an article I posted this time last year on the same tradition.
The Choca (hide) from within which the trapper waits and operates
The trapper pulls on the string and the Common Kestrel takes off from the perch and flies around with the lure attached. It looks like it has captured a prey item to any passing hawk. Note the tight line leading to the Choca that has just been pulled.
Here the Kestrel returns to the perch having flown around for a while. If you look carefully you will see the slack line in the lower left part of the frame. Note the alulae feathers on the forewing producing lift, thus preventing a stall as the bird comes into land
Here the Kestrel is once more at rest on the perch with a loose line running to the Choca.
I thought I would visit some of the spots where I have seen the owls before to see if I could locate any of them. I eventually found one in a rocky area close to where I had seen them previously. When I approached, the bird disappeared from view down into the rocks. I waited patiently knowing it would reappear after a while.
The owl's curiosity gets the better of it and it reappears from one of the many crevices amongst the rocks once again
It scans overhead for any theats
Here it gives me the once over
A bit of head scratching
A power nap
About to disappear back down into the cover of the rocks again