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
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 https://wordpress.com/view/scillyspider2.wordpress.com
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