Saturday, 4 February 2012

Spring's sprung

Given all the whinging going on back in England about the weather, thought it would be suitable to start with the news that spring has arrived out here. Desert Whites lead the way with a significant arrival starting from 2 February, despite a howling north-westerly. These were accompanied by Vagrant Emperors and, more importantly from the point of view here, Isabelline Wheatears: five this weekend after none all January. We also had an over-wintering Steppe Grey Shrike singing this morning, the first I have ever heard doing that. It was an interesting bird too, with a very dark bill and loral area; quite different from the usual bland looking 1w that we usually have.

Other birds in this weekend’s exertions included the pipit-fest continuing, with both Blyth’s and Buff-bellied appearing on cue and a few straightforward additions out on Lulu island: Sparrowhawk and Socotra Cormorant, the latter the only refugee from the massive swell offshore. I did look for mergansers, Herald Petrels and beached Giant Squid as well, but ended up ‘only’ with 32 Hypocolius at point-blank range, clinging onto the Salvadora with everything they’ve got. Less expected than anything was a splendid Rosy Starling, only my 8th in the circle ever and first between late November and late March.

The other major addition this time round was a quick but prolific trip to the Golf Course were two snipe have been causing me trauma since late autumn. Always side-by-side, hunched down fast asleep and giving only the most piecemeal flight views on about 4 scattered visits now, they showed a peculiar mix of characters. Until, that is I found them feeding openly at close range: one of each! Pin-tailed has become a little less reliable than it used to be in early autumn, so that was handy. And educational. With the Bluethroat finally throwing the towel in nearby, that was half an hour well-spent. Roll on 100…


Total so far - 98 (55%)
Last addition – Rosy Starling (3 February) 

No comments:

Post a Comment