13th March 2020
This conker of a Greater black-headed Gull was the highlight with 2 Collard Pratincole at the Sharm Sewagwe pools today.
Another early start at the golf course at 07.00 to beat the golfers on the fairways. They beat me as they had already started. Great stuff! The first birds to greet me, immediately as I stepped onto the SE end, were 22 Blue-cheeked Bee-eater enjoying the sunshine perched in a bush. They were soon on move as dark clouds moved in but they flew out south instead of north. They left me alone to the sound of vocal Easten Bonelli’s Warbler and chiffchaff A single Glossy Ibis flew out north and 8 Bee-eater flew in and out again. There was a notable increase in Swallow, Sand Martin and Red-rumped Swallow. Black-headed wagtail had dropped from 200 yesterday to 130+ but White Wagtail were up with 100+. 14 Palled Swift moved through and feeding with the wagtail were 25 Short-toed Lark but the Tawny Pipit only reached 15+.
Dark clouds looming over the Sinai Mountains west of Sharm El sheikh
So far this is the only Glossy Ibis i’ve seen during my stay
Up to 25 short-toed Lark were feeding with the 130 Black-headed Wagatail
There were at least over 20 Red-rumped Swallow hawking with 100 Swallow and 25+Sand and 2 House Martin
This interesting Red-rumped Swallow appears to have lost both tail streamers but also has a dark throat
A lot of the hirundines spent a lot of time on the deck due to the strong SE and mizzle
Only 130 Black-headed Wagtail this morning.
Golfers were increasing and for safety I spent the next hour birding the hedge that follows the NE perimeter fence. By the time I had returned to the car I ha noted 40+Chiffchaff, 20+Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Reed warbler, 2 Northern and 1 Isabeline Wheatear, 2 Tree and 1 Water Pipit, pipit, 5 Bluethroat, 2 Siberian Stonechat but no sign of yesterday Caspian Stonechat and feeding together 12 Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler. However, the highlight was a Richard’s Pipit before being flushed by golfers.
A record shot of the Richard’s Pipit before being flushed by golfers and disappearing in the distance.
There were 2 Siberian Stonechat
This Water Pipit is probably yesterday individual as it was in the same area.
The 12 Eastern Bonelli’s Warblere were feeding together in a single bush
I was hoping that both wheatears from yesterday, Cypress and Black-eared would still be present at the Botanical gardens.. I started on the south side and in the weedy patch were 40+Black-headed Wagtail and 2 Squacco Heron. Immediately I could see that there had been a fall of Chiffchaff and common migrants. This included 2 Whitethroat, 4 Blackcap, 1 Western Redstart, 2 Sedge and 2 Reed Warbler, non of these were seen yesterday, 8 Bluethroat, 1 European and 2 Siberian Stonechat and 60-70 Chiffchaff. Lesser Whitethroat were all over the shop with a increase of at least 30 birds. Only 3 Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler but there was a single Cretzschmar’s Bunting sat in a tree and a Sparrowhawk moved through. and I flushed a White-breasted Kingfisher. I also saw the Wryneck very briefly that I had two days ago.
Kicking through this weedy patch flushed out a lot of migrants including 40+Chiffchaff
There were also 2 Squacco Heron in the patch
Over 40 Black-headed Wagtail were feeding in the weedy patch with the usual hybrid wagtails
This Cretzschmar’s Bunting sat perched up as I stood just below it
The lack of white panel on the wing makes this a male Common Redstart
There were 2 Siberian Stonechat
After an hour I made my ways to the NE end hoping to get the two species of wheatear. As I passed the patch where the 6 buntings were yesterday, I flushed 17 Cretzschmar’s Bunting to my surprise! I gave it my best shot but all the wheatears from yesterday had cleared out. In fact a lot of species had moved on overnight and I was left in observing a single Eastern Redstart, 20+Lesser Whitetroat, 10 Eastern Boneli’s Warbler and 30+Chiffchaff. A Woodchat Shrike was on the west perimeter wall before moving deeper into the garden to never been seen again. A flock of 58 Blue-cheeked Bee-eater flew out east and were grounded on the desert floor from the SE strong blow and drizzle. 30 minutes later they were off and flew out south. Later on 20+Blue-cheeked Bee-eater also moved out south followed by another 5 also out south. I could hear sandgrouse out in the desert and found 80+Crowned Sandgrouse out in the open.
from 6 yesterday to 17 Cretzschmar’s Bunting today
Only this stonking male Eastern Redstart remained from three birds yesterday
This Wood Shrike was a cracker but was all too brief!! The only other shrike I’ve seen so far is a Southern Grey Shrike, of whatever race that is, gonna look up when I’ve got time, in the Mangrove Park.
A flock of 58 Blue-cheeked Bee-eater gounded on the desert floor due to the bad weather with the Sinai Mountains in the dark clouds
I came to Egypt to relax and get some birding done. Due to the weather change, yesterday was my first full on birding throughout the day. Today I was goin to repeat that and instead of goin home at 16.00, when I left the botanical gardens, I drove ten minute up road to the Sharm Sewage Pools for the first time. I thought I made a mistake as the rain began to get heavier and on the first few pools there was nothin. That soon changed as I flushed 4 Striated Bunting from the waters edge. another new species! There were small flocks of wader including 40+Little Stint and Ringed Plover, 2 Kentish Plover, 8 wood Sanpiper, 3 Ruff and a single Marsh Sandpiper. In the distace in the murk I could see a Collard Pratincloe hawking only to see it disappear south. I continued walking in between the pools and there on the wall were 2 Collard Prantincole! I got some photos of one of them, looked up only to see a mega Greater-black headed Gull in full summer plumage above me! It flew straight through from the north out south following the Sinai Mountains. Now I wasn’t expecting that! On the mud were some 25 Water Pipit, 10 Little-ringed Plover 30+White wagtail and 3 Black-headed Wagtail. It was getting dark pretty fasy and as I drove away I noticed a patch of reeds close to the road. I had to have a look as it’s this is the first type of habitat I’ve seen since arriving in Sharm. It was a stream fringed with reeds leading to a pool. As the reeds disappeared I flushed a single Bluethroat and Little Egret, 2 Cretzschmar’s Bunting and 2 Siberian Stonechat. On the pool itself were good numbers of waders and also 5 Teal and a single Shoveler. Another great ay and tomorrow the weather is approving which will be ideal for photography but maybe not so for birding
The Sharm Sewage pools looking east towards Sharm El Sheikh
The 4 striated Bunting were hard to get and this is the best I coud do in getting a record shot
The only other Collard Pratincole that ever seen was the individual that Paul Stancliffe found on Scilly 100 year ago!
This Greater-black-headed Gull came down during the rain from the north. Flew straight through continuing sout following the Sinai Mountains. I saw my first GBHG last year with Mashuq Ahmad in Kuwait but by far this was the best individual I’ve observed.
I had 2 Cretzschmar’s Bunting just before dark
A pond close to the Sharm sewage pools
I flushed 2 Cretzschmar’s Bunting near to the pools
i had a total of 35+Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler today
and 170+Black-headed Wagtail