Friday 27 October 2017

Besor updates - large numbers of Bluethroats and Namaqua Doves

Interesting happenings at Besor. The reservoir reconstruction continues and now about half the dry bed has been dug down by about 1.5 - 2.0 m. In some places the water table is showing through with fresh water in the equipment tracks. This morning Bluethroats were the order of the day - I saw 25-30 in the small area I checked with many others calling in the undergrowth so maybe triple figures in the reservoir basin? They were the commonest bird (bar spadgers, hoodies and bulbuls). Took a lot of photos as they came to the puddle to bathe.

Bluethroats have a knack of looking immaculate even after bathing in less than clean water.

Also, in the dry parts, quail jumping up from under my feet. Six or seven times. More interesting was the number of Namaqua Doves - at least a dozen, including juveniles. With no rain yet I guess they've come in for the water.

Many Stonechats too including what I think is a Caspian. Pale, Wheatear tail pattern, white rump etc., but Stonechats can be tricky.

Kingfishers, ever photogenic.

Finally a Purple Heron here. About time!

And, as a treat for going home for breakfast, a Wryneck in the trees near my house. Wrynecks have always been one of my favourite birds. I love the cryptic plumage.

A glimpse of that amazingly long tongue.

And a Black Redstart - cracking bird.

Friday 20 October 2017

Leucistic Barn Swallow

A few more migrants at Besor this morning. Definitely Star of the Show goes to this leucistic Barn Swallow.

What a beauty!

Other birds around this morning.... Water Rail

and a huge wave of Stonechats

and Chiffchaffs
as well as four Namaqua Doves

Wednesday 11 October 2017

Some migration, finally

Had a productive morning at the smallest puddle at Besor. Lots of migrants with good numbers of some species. Didn't see anything that was out of the ordinary but when these birds are unaccountably not around one misses them. All the birds below were feeding/drinking around a puddle barely larger than a (big) dining table.
Bluethroats (a fine red-spotted one that sat in mostly in the shade)

 Clamorous Reed Warblers (not migrants)

 and a Great Reed Warbler to compare

Sedge Warblers and Reed Warblers

Lots of Lesser Whitethroats,

and all the Willow Warblers that seem to have been missing over the last few weeks - so many today.

A very pretty Jack Snipe came to the water's edge to feed.
Ubiquitous Kingfishers,
 Masked Shrike,
 still a few Red-backed Shrikes around as well,
 and Whinchats.
Wierdly, I didn't see any Blackcaps.

On to the bigger puddle for a single Black Stork,
 Snipe and a Dunlin
and a couple of Spotted Redshanks swimming and feeding.
Red-rumped Swallow - I never get tired of them.

Quiet as usual on the Nir Oz fields except for a trio of Monk Parrots - a spill-over from a neighbouring population somewhere.
The longish staying Lesser Grey Shrike is still around.

And finally, winter has arrived with the first White Wagtails!

NW India - 9th to 22nd February 2020 (Kosi River, Corbett NP, Haripur Dam, Pangot, Sattal, Chopta, Walterre)

If you look through the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent (Grimmett, Inskipp and Inskipp, 2011) you cannot help noticing the huge range of s...