I came across this pair of Common Quail sitting quietly out in the open the other morning. I presume they were trying to dry out after the rain the night before. They disappeared back into the cover of the thicker grass when a Marsh Harrier appeared overhead
The male with heavier streaking on its face
The other day I observed two well camouflaged birds hopping to and fro amongst some rocks. They were quite confiding and at one point came close to the vehicle. I was not entirely sure what I was looking at so sent the images off to my birding friends to confirm the ID's for me. They are Desert Larks. The book says they are common breeding residents but in four years of Middle Eastern birding this is my first sighting of the species, so I am happy to be able to add them to my list
Very well camouflaged against the rocky background
To add to some previous images of the city as taken from our balcony (see post dated 14/10/2015) I captured this series as a storm moved in and rain began to fall early on the morning of the 25th November
Threatening clouds move in from out in the bay, and hang menacingly above the city centre early one morning
Shortly after sunrise the rain begins to fall out in the bay and the prevailing wind starts to blow the storm towards land
More of the city centre is obscured as the rain moves closer
The city centre is disappearing behind the curtain of rain
I promise its out there somewhere
The Falcon traders at the Souk are all fully stocked and the season is well under way. Some birds are bred for sale and others are trapped in countries in Asia as they begin to migrate south for the winter. Traders then bring these birds here to sell them. The wild birds generally have their eyes stitched closed to keep them calm until they are habituated to being handled and accustomed to the hood
A beautiful falcon seen perched here on its handler's glove
A falcon relaxing on one of the perches
A falcon perched with its hood in place
A falcon busy feeding on a piece of chicken
There were a couple of cages filled with Eurasian Stone-curlews. I presume they are to be sold and then used as a prey item to be chased and caught by the falcons
If you visit Souk Waqif you can pass through the area that sells a wide variety of pets. This includes a selection of caged birds. A variety of different coloured Scaly-breasted Munias are part of this offering. Reading up on the internet these birds are native to tropical Asia and are to be found in India, Sri-Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines.11 sub-species occur that differ slightly in size and colour.
Scaly-breasted Munia on display at the Souk
Here a Scaly-breasted Munia is seen in the company of some Indian Silverbills feeding on grass seeds at the local patch
There are fairly large numbers of Northern Shovelers to be seen here at the as they overwinter with us. They seem to be enjoying feeding on the wet areas in the centre pivot fields at the moment. I have always struggled to get close enough to get any sort of reasonable images, having only succeeded on one occasion to get a photo of a Drake.(22/01/2014 entry) I managed some B.I.F shots as a duck flew overhead the other day
I was watching and photographing this bird when I was fortunate enough to see for the first time the actual catch and impaling of a prey item taking place
On the look-out for something to catch
Having flown off a short distance and landing on the ground it returns with this prey item in its beak
It hops down to the base of the perch and onto this stick where it impales the beetle
Back up onto the perch where it actually broke into song for a few seconds
Here is a closer view of the stocked larder. By the amount of droppings visible this is a well used hunting perch
Did you notice anything out of the ordinary in these images?
The bird is missing its tail feathers
There is a Grey Heron that has taken a liking to one of the fresh water ponds at the local patch. Whenever I go there it seems to be "in the house". It is a sign that there must be plenty of fish for it to feed on if it for it to hang around for such a long time. Perhaps this is where it roosts at night and spends a bit of time in the morning feeding before heading off to the coast?
There is a large rock in the centre of the pond where birds land and spend time preening or sunning themselves. The Heron spends plenty of time on the rock
Here it is on the rock again. Surveying the scene
Here it works its way around the edges of the pool looking to spear a fish or two
I manage to capture it as it flew across the pool towards its favourite reed bed
Coming in to land adjacent to the reeds. It stands motionless up against the reeds for ages waiting for fish to swim within range. It also uses the reeds as a hideaway when it wants to remain out of view
I watched this bird as it busied itself looking for grubs. They are continuously on the move, walking to and fro, always probing with their long beaks searching for tasty morsels to devour.
Note the soil being disturbed as it flicks the ground with its beak
Here it has found a grub in the grass and holds it in the tip of its beak
Head back it positions it ready for ingestion
Down the hatch it goes.