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Shropshire Baggy Moor

18th March 2023

After seeing 100s of White Wagtail only a few days ago in Jordan, it was still good to see this individual at Baggy Moor

Back in the UK after a great six weeks of traveling/birding through Oman, Thailand and Jordan. Met some awesome folks along the way, stayed at some top notch digs, especially Mango House in Jordan and it’s even better when your finding scarce and mega rare birds in each country. As usual, before goin home to Scilly, I’m spending a few days with the family in Salop. So it’s back down to earth now but today, a trip to my old birding patch, Baggy Moor, proved to be pretty good. These lagoons have been very productive in the past and as I lived only two minutes up the lane from the site, I watched it almost daily. Highlights back then included Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Common Scoter, Crane, 6 Little Stint with 3 Curlew Sandpiper, Whimbrel, most springs, Garganey and over a two day period, May 1st-2nd, 1990, 63 Black Tern! Also, Quail I could hear from home, every summer into the night with a peak of ten one year. The odd winters, Whooper and Bewick’s Swans would turn up with Short-eared Owl, Hen Harrier, and most days, Merlin would hunt the fields. And the late Bill Edwards gripped me off with a Sandwich Tern! I don’t think that anyone birds Baggy Moor at the moment and hopefully some birder nearby might make an effort to go and watch Baggy Moor after reading all those county rarities being observed.

Today at Baggy Moor, I was hoping to see the first Wheatear of the spring. Jumping out of the car and a scan across to the lagoons, 6 Shelduck, 33 Wigeon, 52 Teal, 3 Cormorant and a single Little Grebe. Following the east side of the lagoon and from the ditch, I kicked out a Jack Snipe that appeared to come down south near to the River Perry. A small number of bunting were in the Hawthorns bordering the lagoons on the west side including, 35 Corn and 20 Reed Bunting and 20 Yellowhammer. Way down on the numbers I used to get here including 250 Corn Bunting. There were so many species in song and one that was so good to hear were Skylark and Lapwing. Chiffchaff were very vocal and in a single small Hawthorn, there were 5 individuals with another two flycatching nearby in the warm sun. I could also hear alba wagtails and when I caught up with them, I immediately scanned through them for a White Wagtail and there was one in with the 25 Pied Wagtail.

A blurry record shot of the Jack Snipe flying away from me after I had flushed it

The first spring White Wagtail this year for Salop

In with the White Wagtail were up to 7 Chiffchaff

There were some 20 Reed Bunting

Equal number of Yellowhammer

All 35 Corn Bunting were in this small isolated Hawthorn but proved very elusive

6 Shelduck today but in the past, I’ve had a peak count of 26 once

I spent many hours in this tower looking out for owls and winter raptors and listening to Quail

I left the old stomping ground and headed towards another area that I almost watched daily as it was only a few miles away from where I was living, the North Shropshire meres. I covered each one of them, pulling into Woodlane mid-way. Highlights were, 3 Stonechat, Crosmere, 8 Oystercatcher and 2 Siskin, Woodlane, 28 Goldeneye, Ellesmere and the last mere to look at, Whitemere which held some 60 Sand Martin before they flew out north. Returning back to Telford, I dipped out on a Wheatear at Nonely. That would of ended the day off ideal but otherwise, Baggy Moor did the job.

I thought that there were only 40 Sand Martin at Whitemere but it was when they got into a tight flock that I could clearly see that it was in fact over 60 birds.

Yesterday, a slow twenty minute drive through Isombridge and I was rewarded with 8 Corn Bunting, 80 Fieldfare and only my second Telford Merlin.

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Jordan Day 13 Aqaba Bird Observatory

14th March 2023

The rain did it’s job by forcing birds down at the sewage basins, Aqaba Bird Observatory including a single White-winged, 2 Caspian and 4 whiskered Tern including this individual.

I arrived on the basins at 08.00 in anticipation with in what could prove to be a good day all round with what might come in or pass straight through in the next few hours that I’ve got before the obs closes at 15.00. Altogether there were six new species added to the patch and the first one of the day was a male Blackcap near the obs. Immediately after that, I was onto the second patch tick with 5 Glossy Ibis on the east bank and a scan across the water, 2 Caspian, 4 Whiskered and a single White-winged Black Tern. A Black-winged Kite overhead was followed by another individual and 2 vocal Short-toed Lark flew northward bound. The Black-necked Grebe was still on the west basin and by the time I had covered the basins there were 30 Little Stint, 12 Ruff, 12 Little-ringed Plover and a single Wood Sandpiper As the manager of the obs, Faes, was driving towards me on the bank between the east and central basin, the rain started getting heavier and I could hear a vocal Pacific Golden Plover above and got onto to flying through north. I jumped into his wagon to take shelter and he took me beyond the far east basin and behind were the sewage works where there were good numbers of White Wagtails. With them were Citrine, and Black-headed Wagtail, 4 Red-throated and a single Water Pipit.

The rain eased off and Faes dropped me off to where there was a birder near to the east pond. I could also see a mixed flock of Garganey and Teal swirling around and attached to them were 5 Black-tailed Godwit. The birder turned out to be Steve Daily and he told me that I had just missed out on 2 Gull-billed Tern. One species of tern I was expecting to turn up today. All morning, there had been flocks of Slender-billed and Black-headed Gull and by the time we had covered all the basins, some 200 and 150 respectively had moved out north. Also, swift and hirundines were increasing all the time and in an hour, over 200 Steppe Eagle all moved through west with the odd Steppe Eagle. While 4 Marsh Harrier continued their migration north. The 2 Oriental Honey Buzzard showed up. Halfway round the basins, Steve got us onto a high flying Hoopoe Lark heading north and as the storm was coming in with lighting, we made a hasty retreat to shelter at the obs.

Only a single Whiskered Tern remained on the basins when I left

Some 200 Slender-billed Gull moved through north

We had been in the obs for just over thirty minutes, and the heavy downpour had turned to spitting. I was eager to get back out, as there was only an hour left before the obs shuts and I knew from experience, there was goin to be more birds new in, grounded from that heavy rain. And I wasn’t wrong. In the time we had been keeping dry in the obs, over 200 waders and less numbers of ducks had dropped in. Altogether totals included, 45 Black-winged Stilt, 35 Ruff, 80 Little Stint, 5 Dunlin, 15 Ringed and 5 Kentish Plover, 9 Green Sandpiper, 24 Garganey, 19 Teal, 37 Shoveler and 7 Pintail. It felt I was back in the 1980s at Mire Lake, Allscott Sugar Factory, Shropshire, when waders and terns would drop in when there was bad weather during migration. One memorable day, for Salop, in September, when there was drizzle with SE winds, 3 Spotted Redshank, 3 Turnstone, 9 Ruff, 16 Little Stint, 6 Culew Sandpiper, 16 Greenshank, 3 Wood Sandpioper, 35 Dunlin, 14 Ringed Plover, 3 Common Tern and the highlight for twenty five minutes, because it was a county tick at the time, Red-breasted Mergenser! It don’t get better than that for an inland county. I’ll never forget that amazing day. Back at the obs, all the waders never settled and were always up and down before almost the whole lot moved out as the weather improved. There was also an increase in White Wagtails as well and with them were 3 Citrine and my first Grey Wagtail. I didn’t want to leave but 15.00 was approaching fast and as I just stepped inside the obs, it bucketed down again.

Unfortunately by mistake, I deleted all but four images and on this post is all those 4 four pics.

Ruff, Little Stint, Ringed Plover and Whiskered Tern

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Jordan Day 12 Aqaba Bird Observatory

13th March 2023

It was like seeing a new species seeing this Black-necked Grebe as it’s nearly thirty years since I’ve seen one in summer plumage when I had a pair at Woodlane, Shropshire. In fact 1995 was a good year when I had five different individuals in the The Meres area that spring.

Just before 09.00, the sun was already burning on my face and a quick scan across the sewage basins at Aqaba Bird Observatory, revealed three patch ticks. 2 very brief Whiskered Tern that departed west, Great White Egret with 2 Grey Heron and on the far west basin, a summer plumage Black-necked Grebe. It was while spending some time with the latter species that an Osprey dropped in and started to bath to my right as I sat still at the waters edge. This was followed by a different male Citrine Wagtail that appeared to arrive from the south, a Oriental Honey Buzzard and 3 Sparrowhawk. There was only a female Garganey on the far east pond from the ten yesterday but it’s more than likely new in rather than one of yesterdays individuals. It was some two hours later, 10.00, that I saw my first hirundine, 3 Swallow. Shortly after that, some 100 hirundines arrived to join the 150 Swift and Pallid Swift.

Just got this record shot of the 2 Whiskered Tern before they moved on

A distant Great White Egret

Surperb Black-necked Grebe on the far west basin

This Osprey dropped in for a bath while I was on the grebe

Out of the 4 Oriental Honey Buzzard that I was recording almost daily when I first arrived at the obs, it appears that two of the buzzards have moved on.

From the south, a new in male Citrine Wagtail arrived

There were up to 3 Sparrowhawk

After a long break and I only seeing 3 Bonelli’s Warbler but good numbers of both Lesser Whitethroat and Chiffchaff around the obs building, I returned to the basins. Not much goin on but three large gulls came in very briefly. Baltic, Armenian and a Caspian Gull. A distant pale phase Booted Eagle flew off north and a Marsh Harrier hung around. There were only some 30 White Wagtail this morning but this had rose to 60 birds with 3 Black-headed and 2 Citrine Wagtail and 2 Water Pipit. Waders were low in numbers, 8 Ruff, 4 Green, 1 Wood, Marsh and Common Sandpiper, 8 Little Stint, 2 Little-ringed Plover, 1 Green and 4 Redshank. The 2 Moorhen and Pygmy Cormorant were still on the east pond hanging out with the 30 Little Grebe. I went to town later on but didn’t cover the allotments. However, I did get a male white-spotted Bluethroat.

Record shot of Caspian Gull

Baltic Gull

Armenian and Baltic Gull

Corking Bluethroat to end the day with in the city

Tomorrow should be very interesting. Rain arriving in the early hours of the morning with light SSW winds. This is very unusual weather for south Jordan. I was in Sharm El Shiekh, Egypt in second week of March, 2020. There was a storm with SE winds and as a result, there was a fall of birds that were migrating north . Highlights and peak numbers over a two day period at only two sites next to each other included, Short-eared Owl, Bittern, 50+Tawny Pipit, 240 Black-headed Wagtail, 162 Blue-cheeked Blue-eater, wheatears, shrikes, 35 Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, 110 chiffchaff, 70 Lesser Whitethroat, 14 Bluethroat, 16 Collard Pratincole, 3 Richard’s Pipit, 25 Short-toed Lark, 25 Water Pipit, 15 Red-throated Pipit, 17 Cretzscmar’s Bunting, 80 Reed Warbler, 40+Sedge Warbler, 8 Ruppell’s Warbler, male Pallid Harrier and 2 Quail. Not forgetting the third Western Palearctic record of ASIAN RED-RUMPED SWALLOW!! It begs the question, what did I miss in these two incredible days of birding.

Here is the link to those amazing days from March 13th

Jordan Day 11 Aqaba Bird Observatory

12th March 2023

This Peregrine Falcon, paused briefly flying north, as it had it’s eyes on the Garganey that turned up this morning

In the first hour of birding the basins, there were 4 patch ticks. On the far east pond, 6 Garganey were new in and it was while observing them that at the far west basin, I could see a Caspian Tern. By the time I rushed down to where the tern was, it was flying out south. Instead I had to make do with the White-winged Black Tern that’s been around for a few days now. The third site record, would you believe, were 2 Moorhen! From the south, 4 Garganey arrived and settled down with the 6 birds already present. Then all hell broke loose! I heard the alarm from a House Crow behind me and turned around to see a large falcon hot on it’s tail. They were both distant but I changed from my bins to my camera as the Peregrine Falcon started flying in my direction. Suddenly it turned and stooped towards the east pond at great speed and put the ducks up very briefly before they all returned back on the water. The falcon flew off north and was the forth and last patch tick of the day. Otherwise, everything had more or less cleared out with less numbers of Swift, 300, hirundines, 400 and White Wagtail numbered 40. Waders were also way down. 3 Ruff, 2 Little-ringed Plover, 3 Redshank, 1 Marsh and 1 Common Sandpiper, still 9 Little Stint and now 2 Greenshank.

4 of the 10 Garganey escaping from the Lanner Falcon

Record shot of the Caspian Tern flying out south

Peregrine Falcon with Garganey on the menu but left north after being unsuccessful

There were only 4 Black-headed Wagtail

And 40 White Wagtail

Later morning, I had a look around the obs building where there were at least 12 Spanish Sparrow. Nearby there were 7 Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, 10 Lesser Whitethroat, 25 Chiffchaff and a single Bluethroat and after a Marsh Harrier moved out north, I left earlier than usual as my belly was rumberling.

Out of the 7 Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, this was the only shot that I got of one of them as the others choose to feed high up in the canopy

Next to the obs building are a handful of Spanish Sparrow

I ended the day for an hour at the seafront allotments and like the obs, a lot of species from yesterday, had moved on and it appeared nothin new had arrived. 4 Red-throated Pipit, 2 Whitethroat, 5 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, 6 Chiffchaff, 3 Hoopoe and a single Barred Warbler. The latter species could easily be the bird from two days ago. No sign of the male Masked Shrike at the east end but the long staying individual was still showing off at the west end.

There were up to 4 Red-throated Pipit

The long staying Masked Shrike was still present showing at very close range at the west end seafront allotments

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Jordan Day 10 Aqaba Bird Observatory

11th March 2023

The long staying Masked Shrike was still at the west end allotments of Aqaba and a few minutes later, just down road on the east end, was this corking male was new in

This morning at the obs started off very quiet with almost a clear out. Swifts and hirundines were well down in numbers with 700 and 500 respectively. The majority of the latter were Red-rumped Swallow with 300 birds followed by Swallow. A flock of 24 Green Sandpiper flew out NW when I arrived but waders were absent except the odd shank, stint and sandpiper. From 200 two days ago to only 50 white wagtail. associated with the wagtails were 2 Citrine, 5 Black-headed and a single Blue-headed Wagtail and 3 Water and a single Red-throated Pipit. As it was almost dead on the basins, I went and had a sleep in the shade near to the obs. Two hours had passed and i woke up to the sound of Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler in the acacias. Altogether in the area there were 4 Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, 25 Chiffchaff, 10 Lesser Whitethroat and a single Bluethroat.

Black-headed Wagtail

Blue-headed Wagtail

Water Pipit

I returned to the basin, not really thinkin nothings changed and 5 Marsh Sandpiper dropped in from the south. In the couple hours that I had been away, species that were new in included, 2 Wood Sandpiper, 9 Little stint, 9 Ruff, 8 Redshank, 5 Little-ringed Plover and a single Black-winged Stilt. Non of these waders were here earlier. well I don’t think so anyways. At 14.00, I was ready to leave when I finally got a patch tick in the form of a Booted Eagle. Otherwise, raptors were also in short supply compared to the last few days. 2 Marsh Harrier, 15 Steppe Buzzard, 3 Steppe Eagle, 2 Sparrowhawk and one of the Oriental Honey Buzzard.

A patch tick was this Booted Eagle

A few Vagrant Emperor knocking around

Late afternoon, I arrived at the allotments to find that everything had cleared out except for the odd Eestern Boneill’s Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat and Whitethroat. However, the Masked Shrike was back in the west allotments and when I reached the east side, there was a this crackin male Masked Shrike. Also in the same area was a different Eastern Redstart and Red-throated Pipit from yesterday.

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Jordan Day 9 Aqaba seafront allotments

10th March 2023

The city seafront allotments was on fire this afternoon and produced the goods including this corker of a male Eastern Redstart

With some folks from the digs I’m staying at, I joined them for the short drive to Wadi Rum. I didn’t do any birding but still managed to see, Desert Lark, 3 Black Kite, and Brown-necked Raven, Isabeline and this Hooded Wheatear.

Late afternoon and I made my way to town. Here I had some delicious local food and then got some dates and nuts to eat near the beach where it was overcrowded. I forgot it was Friday but as I got stuck into my nuts, I couldn’t help but notice a Lesser Whitethroat just above me with a Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler calling nearby. I was only goin to stick around for twenty minutes, see if the Masked Shrike was still present, and then explore the area. I cycled to the east end and on the first allotment I had a look at, in a very tiny area, 4 whitethroat, 3 Eastern Bonelli’s and Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, and a single Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Bluethroat and 4 Hoopoe. Ideal start and in the next hour, I stuck around the same area, basically just concentrated on three allotments and it was obvious that there had been an arrival of new birds in. It was while I was looking south from the allotment, that I spotted a large tern slowly passing by very close in shore. Caspian Tern and I scrabbled to get on the bike. By the time I had made the 2 second cycle ride, the tern was flying away back on. However, there was a single White-eyed Gull and Western Reef Heron, an Osprey east and in off the sea, 8 Red-rumped Swallow heading NNW.

Out of all the Bluethroat that I’ve come across in Aqaba, this is the only white-spotted that I’ve seen so far. Unfortunately this male stuck around in the dark of a large acacia.

One of the 4 Hoopoe

Lesser Whitethroat

White Wagtail are all over the shop

The next allotment was larger in size and basically held the same species at the beginning. However, after hanging around, just taking my time, from one end to the other and repeating that quite a few times, I was spotting new species. There were 2 Eastern Olivaceous and 2 Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, 10 Chiffchaff, 10 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Red-throated Pipit and a single Sedge Warbler and White-throated Kingfisher. It was at the east end of this allotment that the highlights were hanging out. 2 Cretzschmar’s Bunting were feeding on the public steps, showing well very briefly, before being pushed into the gardens by the many folks passing by and it was when I was trying to relocate the bunting that I turned up a Barred Warbler. Great stuff and I crossed the road and tried out the next allotment. Immediately I was on a stonking male Eastern Redstart. More Chiffchaff and Lesser Whitethroat and a single Whitethroat. I never had time to check out anywhere else and returning home, I gave it a minutes and again I could see the Masked Shrike.

Hiding behind a fence from the road, this Eastern Olivaceous Warbler just kept closer and closer towards me, feeding in the weeds, until I was almost on top of it.

There were up to 3 Red-throated Pipit

The last time I saw Cretzschmar’s Bunting was three year ago, just down road, when I had 8 birds together during a storm at Sharm El sheikh, Egypt

And I really wasn’t thinkin about a Barred Warbler turning up in the allotments

The icing on the cake was this stonking male Eastern Redstart. Like the bunting, the only other place I’ve seen this race, was also the same sight during the same storm when there were two birds together.

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Jordan Day 8 Aqaba Bird Observatory

9th March 2023

I had this crackin male Ruppell’s Warbler moving through with Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler at the obs

It’s now been a week, take away two days, that I’ve been keeping a close eye on the obs and every time, so far, it hasn’t let me down. On arrival at the sewage basins, already the swifts and swallows were feeding and in an hour after 08.00, there were at least 2000 swift and 1500 hirundines! To the south, the sky was covered in swift over the golf cause and that’s where they stayed for most of the day until early afternoon when more than half appeared to have moved on. This was the same with the hirundines and birds that remained were 500 Swallow, 200 Sand 250 House Martin and 150-200 Red-rumped Swallow. It was obvious that most of the White Wagtail had cleared out with just 80 birds. With the wagtails were 2 Water Pipit, 9 Black-headed and 2 Citrine Wagtail, including a stonking male, new in, of the latter species. Waders were also low in numbers, single Green and 2 Redshank, 2 Little Stint, single Wood and Marsh, 4 Green and 2 Common Sandpiper, but the Ruff had increased to 4. The only new duck in was a male Wigeon and the Pygmy Cormorant was still on the east pool.

Most of the White Wagtail have moved but this beauty, male Citrine Wagtail was new in

This was also new in but what is it? Black-headed ‘type’Wagtail?

There were at least 150-200 Red-rumped Swallow

200 Sand Martin

Some 2000 Swift were feeding to the south over the golf couse

This male Wigeon was the only new duck but no sign of the female

The raptors were just trickling through mid-morning but early afternoon they were streaming in from the SW straight through NNE and in forty minutes, some 80 Steppe Eagle and 100 Steppe Buzzard, 4 Marsh Harrier, 2 Black Kite, single Sparrowhawk and the highlight, 2 Egyptian Vultures together, passed through. The vultures I would never have spotted if it wasn’t for the dark shapes of 8 Steppe Eagle drifting NE with them. After this, except for the odd eagle and buzzard, the movement had dried up. With that, I birded the scrub and it was while I was on my fifth Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler in the hour looking, that a corking male Ruppell’s Warbler came through and showed superbly. Also 30 Chiffchaff, 15 Lesser Whitethroat and 2 Palestine Sunbird. In with the 100’s of House Sparrow were 2 male Spanish Sparrow and the last bird at the obs was a single Hoopoe.

Totals of raptors included 140 steppe Buzzard, 100 Steppe Eagle, 4 Marsh Harrier, 2 Black Kite, 2 Egyption Vulture and a single Sparrowhawk.

New species on the patch included, Ruppell’s, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, Palestine Sunbird and Egyptian Vulture.

Went snorkelling for the third time later on and it turned out to be the most rewarding snorkel I’ve done so far, Pufferfish and Stingray. Last time I saw a tank! A quick look at the Masked Shrike in the city on returning back to my digs. Also single Red-throated Pipit and Hoopoe.

Only 2 Black Kite moved through and I guess that will increase in the next week

Steppe Eagles and Buzzards

And the highlight of the raptors, 2 Egyptian Vulture

Went in search of Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler and came across five birds.

The last time I saw Ruppell’s warbler wasd three year ago at Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, where I had a fall of eight birds together during a storm along with some 60 Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler.

Out of the 30 Chiffchaff I also had this Interesting individual with a bar at the end of it’s tail like it was dipped in ink.

Record shot of a distant Male Spanish Sparrow

Another new species for the patch was this Short-winged Lemmon Bird. Although you can clearly see tha it’s not a Long-winged Lemmon Bird, it’s such a poor record shot it will never get accepted.

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Jordan Day 7 Aqaba Bird Observatory

8th March 2032

From 09.00 onwards until 14.00, some 120 Steppe Buzzard passed through on migration from the south continuing their journey north.

Still coming from a northly direction, the wind had dropped and I knew that it wasn’t goin to be as good day as yesterday. Above the obs, there were over 100 House Martin and Red-rumped Swallow with the odd swift and out on the ponds, some 500 Swallow and 200 Sand Martin were feeding over the water with the lone White-winged Black Tern. by 09.00, 100 Black-headed and 40 Slender-billed Gull flew through and this was the time that the first big arrival of swift were pouring in with raptors starting to come in off from the south. A new Northern Wheatear was on the bank where there were also 11 Black-headed and single Citrine and 2 Blue-headed Wagtail with only 150 White Wagtail. The Pygmy Cormorant was hanging out with the 4 Coot and now 41 Little Grebe on the far east pool where there were also 2 Water Pipit. New waders included 2 different Ruff from yesterday, with 2 Little Stint was my first Dunlin and there were now 2 Wood Sandpiper. There were also up to 7 Green and 2 Common Sandpiper.

There were 2 Blue-headed Wagtail hanging out with the Black-headed and White Wagtail

Now here are 2 Wood Sandpiper

This Dunlin, here next to a Little Stint, Greenshank and 2 Ruff, was a patch tick

A taste of the some of the species together observed on the ponds with 2 Ruff, Green and Wood Sandpiper, Greenshank, Dunlin, White and Black-headed Wagtail

Some 80 or more Red-rumped Swallow were present

And out of the 700 Swallow, there was this tailless individual

Just before I returned to the ponds, after havin an hours break from the sun, I checked out the scrubby area where there were very small numbers of Chiffchaff and Lesser Whitethroat and above I could still see buzzard moving through and just got on to a spec with my naked eye that didn’t look right. With the bins I identified it as the first Black Stork so far of the trip. Both the Pied and White-throated Kingfisher were very vocal out on the ponds and to the west, 22 Spoonbill flew out high, north. At about 12.30, another birder was birding the ponds. Rafael, from Berlin joined me and left nearly two hours later. Kinking our necks, we observed the raptors coming in still, small numbers of Steppe Eagle and Buzzard, 3 Marsh Harrier and a single Black Kite. If it wasn’t for Rafael, I would of never have spotted it myself, High up in the blue skies, a Black-winged Kite didn’t hang around. A vocal Red-throated Pipit was heard otherwise, it was basically all the same species I saw earlier. Rafael was here to hopefully connect with the Oriental Honey Buzzard. I had already seen two this morning and it wasn’t long until Rafeal had seen 3 Oriental Honey Buzzard. Now on my own and the only bird of note before I left at 15.00, was a Black-bellied Sandgrouse that peltered through east at great speed! I really wasn’t expecting to see one of them today.

The first of hopefully many Black Stork to migrant north in the next week was this dot in the sky

22 Spoonbill moving on high north

Crackin job done by Rafael to spot this very brief Black-winged Kite

Altogether up to 7 Marsh Harrier passed through with two males including this individual above

So pleased Rafael caught up with 3 of the 4 Oriental Honey Buzzard with two of the wintering birds above

Just managed to get this record shot of a Black-bellied Sandgrouse flying off out of sight east and turned out to be the rarest species of the day.

the sky was almost black with Hirundines and swifts mainly to the south where they were feeding over the golf course.

Altogether totals included for raptors, 12o Steppe Buzzard and 80 Steppe Eagle, 6 Marsh Harrier, single Sparrowhawk, Black and Black-shouldered Kite and the 3 Oriental Honey Buzzard

Again so difficult to give totals for hirundines and swift but a minimum included. 700 Swallow, 250 House and 100 House Martin, 80 Red-rumped swallow, 250 Common and 800 Pallid Swift.

Only 4 patch ticks today, Red-throated Pipit, Black-shouldered Kite, Dunlin and Black-bellied Sandgrouse.

I returned home and got stuck into left overs from yesterdays dinner that was made by the owners mom. I was still lickin my chops when I observed the Masked Shrike at very close range, I could of touched it, at the sea front allotments. No sign of the yesterdays wheatear or a single Hoopoe but 2 Red-throated Pipit and on the front, Western Reef Heron.

I could of almost of touched the Masked Shrike as it was arms length’s away from me looking down on it from the main high street in the evening light Here it was in the shade

The Governments Illegal Migration Bill does BREAK THE LAW and they know it

Peter Stefanovic 37.4K subscribers



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Jordan Day 6 Aqaba Bird Observatory

7th March 2023

After the warden, Feras, telling me that there are Arabian Babbler in the area of the obs, I’ve been searching high and low without success util today when I bumped into a gang of 7 on the way to the ponds and was my second new species of the trip so far.

After taking a break yesterday, spending time snorkelling off South Beach, this morning I was back on the road and was feeling a little cold while cycling into a stiff NNE cold wind with a patchy cloudy sky. I arrived at the observatory just after 08.00, signed in and headed straight to the ponds, as it felt like it was goin to be a good day ahead with the weather. As it was, it turned out to be the most productive day so far. However, I was rudely interrupted by a gang of 7 Arabian Babbler on my way there. At last I had finally connected with them after Feras, the warden of the obs, telling me that they are in the area throughout. Again, the ponds looked empty of life with nothin in view, standing at the north end, until I started walking along the centre bank. White Wagtail were down to over 200 but there were 3 Water Pipit, a single Citrine and now 15 Black-headed Wagtail. Just before 09.00, the swifts started arriving from the south and it wasn’t long until there were some mix of 800 Common and Pallid Swift with over 300 Swallow and 150 Sand Martin but just a single Red-rumped Swallow. Then the first raptors started moving through north and in five minutes, 4 Marsh Harrier flew in the same line to the east of the pools including the only male I’ve seen so far. This was followed by the 3 Oriental Honey Buzzard rising together on the same terminals and up to 6 Steppe Eagle joined 8 Steppe Buzzard. The hirundines moved out after half an hour of arriving and it wasn’t long until the next wave came through. The sky was black with at least 1200 hirundines and an equal number of swifts. Now it was like, almost every hirundine you tried to get a pic of above was a Red-rumped Swallow or House Martin. While on the water, with a single White-winged Black Tern, were over 500 Swallow and smaller numbers of Sand Martins. All the time I was hoping for an Alpine Swift and it wasn’t long until I picked out the highest flying swift, a spec, that turned out to be of the latter species. Distantly, I picked up what I thought was a small falcon in from the south until I put my bins up and identified it a Peregrine Falcon. Because of the size, I was thinking maybe a Barbary Falcon. I immediately took some record shots before it continued off north. A vocal Wood Sandpiper arrived from the south and touched down next to 2 Ruff and a patch tick, Little Egret. Except for two birds, the Green Sandpiper had cleared out.

So pleased to finally catch up with the resident Arabian Babbler at the observatory

Water Pipit

Picked out this very high flying Alpine Swift very briefly with my naked eye before it drifted off east

Pallid Swift

Large number of Red-rumped Swallow moving through and while cycling home, I was still counting them

Unfortunately, this small Peregrine Falcon was distant and straight through north but looks very good for Barbary Falcon.

This White-winged Black Tern was new in

Along with this Wood Sandpiper that arrived in from the south

The buzzards were still trickling north with the odd Marsh Harrier throughout the day and out of the blue, a single Black Kite was the only one I’ve seen in the week that I’ve been in Jordan. While continueing to pan the skies, I picked up two distant buzzards arriving together from the south. As they came closer, I could see that one was a Steppe and the other, Oriental Honey Buzzard. Was the latter species, one of the wintering individuals or a migrant moving north? From the south, a sad sight was a Spoonbill flying straight through with a dangling leg from where it had probably been shot on route. 7 large distant gulls passed on and included a single Baltic, 3 Steppe and the rest were immatures making it difficult to say which species they were. On the centre bank was a Northern Wheatear hanging out with the wagtails and the Pygmy Cormant was back on it’s favoured pool with some 30 Little Grebe and now, 3 Coot Unfortunately, because the obs is on military ground, it shuts at 15.00 every day. How much I wanted to stay but the day was not finished. When I left the obs, at the entrance, were single Isabelline Wheatear, Tawny Pipit, Hoopoe and my only one so far of the trip, Great Grey Shrike.

I was expecting more that just single Black Kite today but that was it. Just this one!

It appears, by the dangling leg, that this Spoonbill that flew from south straight through north has been shot at

Northern Wheatear on the central bank

Oriental Honey and Steppe Buzzard arriving together in off from the south straight through out north with a Common Swift photobombing.

At least 11 Marsh Harrier moved out north including an adult male

Some 44 Steppe Buzzard also

And up to 16 Steppe Eagle

This Oriental Honey Buzzard gave superb views perched near to the obs.

Altogether totals included 11 Marsh Harrier, 44 Steppe Buzzard, 4 Oriental Honey Buzzard, 16 Steppe Eagle and a single Peregrine Falcon, possibly Barbary and 1 Black Kite. All, except the OHB and a few buzzards, moved straight north.

It’so difficult to count the hirundines and swift but a rough estimate was probably 50 Red-rumped Swallow, 40 House Martin, 800 Swallow and 250 Sand Martin. Over 200 Swift and 1000 Pallid Swift.

Altogether I had eight patch ticks including Wood Sandpiper, Little Egret, Northern Wheatear, Alpine Swift, Great Grey Shrike and Arabian Babbler.,

In the city, I had a large hummus with nuts before checking out the sea front allotments. To cover the allotments, I cycle slowly, scanning the gardens with my eyes. Coming around the corner, I bumped into 4 Hoopoe in the middle of the road together! It soon became apparent that there had been a small influx of the species with at least 8 birds in the area. Normally I only see one. A single Red-throated Pipit, White-throated Kingfisher, small movement of Swallow and Red-rumped Swallow still and for it’s fifth day, the Masked Shrike. However, the highlight was right at the east end and just before dark, a came across a stonking male Eastern Black-eared Wheatear. It don’t get better than that to finish off a great day.

Crackin day finished of with this very smart male Eastern Black-eared Wheatear in the seafront alloments.

Tory Hooligan Jonathan Gullis Gets Roasted On Issue Of Small Boats!

House of Commons hooligan Jonathan Gullis had his feet held to the fire when he was interviewed by journalist Krishnan Guru-Murthy on the issue of small boats and asylum seekers. The Tory MP got so flustered that he ended up attacking Kier Starmer and how Jeremy Corbyn was treated.

Maximilien Robespierr

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Jordan Day 4 Aqaba Bird Observatory

5th March 2023

One of the 4 Oriental Honey Buzzard that I observed today at the sewage ponds

Just after 08.00, I was looking from the north over the sewage ponds and was keen to get to the large Eucalypti’s Trees on the east side to see how many Oriental Honey Buzzard were roosting. As I approached the trees, two dark phase birds flew off, shortly followed by the pale phase and it wasn’t long until I got onto the forth individual, also a dark phase. Ideal! It appeared empty with no birds in sight as I started my usual walk around the ponds. A scan to west and the swifts were already in. From the north to the south, counting in tens. 7-800 Pallid Swift and up to 50 Swift, 100 Sand and 5 House Martin and 40 Swallow. The wagtails were busy flycatching and there were at least 300 White Wagtail, 6 Black-headed Wagtail, 2 Meadow and Water Pipit. Throughout the morning, one of Oriental Honey Buzzard would show itself and distantly in the west, I got onto the Great Spotted Eagle.

There’s at least 4 Oriental Honey Buzzard roosting on the east side in the large Eucalypti’s Trees

New in were 2 Meadow Pipit

But from 4 yesterday to only 2 Water Pipit today

As expected the Black-headed Wagtail had increased to 6

And there were now 0ver 300 White Wagtail

After over an hours rest from the sun at the obs, I covered some of the scrub nearby and immediately got onto a singing Eastern Oblivious Warbler. Some 60 Chiffchaff were feeding mainly on the deck where there was also a single Bluethroat. It was still slightly unconfutable when I returned to the ponds but was well worth it when I was rewarded with some crippling flight views of an Osprey that arrived from the south to have a bath. No sign of the Marsh Harrier alday but the Long-legged Buzzard put in an Appearances. I decided to leave earlier and as I was leaving, there were a Siberian Stonechat, I kicked a Hoopoe, a high flying Kestrel moved through SE followed by 2 Armeinian and a single Baltic Gull arrived in from the south.

I was thinking when am I goin to see an Osprey after them in good numbers when I was in Egypt, three year ago at the beginning of March


This Baltic Gull was only my second after an adult in Egypt three year ago

Arabian Green Bee-eater

I went to the city and while getting my delicious fresh from the oven, potato bread, I went to see if the Masked Shrike was still present and it was two days after I discovered it. Also in the same area were 2 Red-throated Pipit and another Hoopoe.

The earlier arriving Masked Shrike from two days ago, was still present just off the main high street

Where there was also 2 Red-throated Pipit

And this very obliging Hoopoe

ERG Brexiteer Wants You To “Believe” Brexit Will Make Britain Richer!

Share5,841 views Mar 5, 2023 UNITED KINGDOMChris Heaton-Harris a member of the ERG and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland appeared on the Sophy Ridge show where he rejected the idea that Britain is poorer because of Brexit. Why? Well he believes things will improve, and because Northern Ireland is in the Single Market, this will help the UK? Join this channel to get access to perks:    / @maximilienrobesp…   Patreon – Amazon – Facebook: –… Twitch – Merch –… Twitter – Buy Me A Coffee –

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