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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

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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.

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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

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Jordan Day 3 Aqaba 6th BLACK BUSH ROBIN

4th March 2023

I came to Jordan for the migrants but also, my mission was in finding a Black Bush Robin and this afternoon, I can’t believe it, I discovered the 6th Jordan Record a few miles east of Aqaba Bird observatory.

Made the twenty five minute cycle from my digs to Aqaba Bird Observatory to get there for 08.00 when it opened up. No problem with getting past the soldiers at the checkpoint this time and what’s the first species I see when scanning the sewage ponds, 2 Oriental Honey Buzzard. While one was perched in a tree, the other individual was circling the same tree. It appeared as though the two birds had been roosting in the large eucalypti’s Trees to the east of the obs. It wasn’t long before the first Pallid Swift started to arrive and an hour later there were over 500 birds with some 40 Swift, 40 Swallow, 100 Sand and 2 House Martin. Standing on the south side, I picked up distantly, the third Oriental Honey Buzzard. In the same binocular view, I could see three geese coming from the north. 2 Egyptian Geese and a small grey goose. Pink-footed Goose was in my head but as they came closer, I should of known, when I realised that I was looking at a LESSER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE! The three birds continued south straight through where I lost them. No idea how many Jordanian records there are but I guess it’s a good on. After seeing my first ever Lesser White-fronted Geese in Oman, I really didn’t expect to see another one less than a month later. There were now 24 Little Stint, 2 Little-ringed, 2 Kentish and 14 Ringed Plover and from 70 yesterday to now 16 Green Sandpiper.

Pallid Swift photo bombing the pale phase Oriental Honey Buzzard

The LESSER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE arriving in from the north with 2 Egyptian Geese Later on I was told that it’s the same individual that’s been seen on and off since 2018.

Yesterday out of the 130 Pallid Swift, I didn’t spot a single Swift but today there were up to 40 birds

Over 500 Pallid Swift is the most that I’ve ever seen and they had all disappeared by the afternoon.

Later in the morning, a White-winged Black Tern arrived in from the south with a single Armenian and 33 Slender-billed Gull and a single Black-tailed Godwit flew straight through north. The ducks were more or less the same numbers as yesterday and were all put up when the Great Spotted Eagle, that’s wintering in the area, flew south low on the west side followed by the Marsh Harrier and Long-legged Buzzard. There were also single Pied and White-throated Kingfisher and there were now 2 Black-headed Wagtail and 4 Water Pipit but just a single Citrine Wagtail. Returning to the obs, I spotted a crackin male Spanish Sparrow with the large numbers of House Sparrow and as I had just left the obs gate, making my ways home, I had a Tawny Pipit and Siberian Stonechat at the side of the road.

Pallid Swift photobombing a White-winged Black Tern arriving in from the south.

The wintering Great Spotted Eagle made a low fly through

Citrine Wagtail

Only 2 Black-headed Wagtail but that’s goin to rise as the week progresses

From a single yesterday to 4 Water Pipit today

A few minutes from the checkpoint at the first roundabout, as usual, I took the first right to get back to the city. Another few minutes and I took another right down a single track to Al Haq Farm. Turning the corner at a speed, I slammed the brakes on hard and almost went over the handlebars. Directly in front of me, to the right on the broad verge way, was the unmistakable shape of a BLACK BUSH ROBIN side on with it’s extremely long tail touching the sky! I had found one in three days of birding Aqaba!! There are more sightings being reported each yeasr as the species is breeding further north expanding it’s range but I never thought I would find the 6th Jordanian sighting myself!! I needed to get a pic and getting the sun behind me, I pished. Immediately, with a single Reed and 2 Sardinian Warbler, the Black Bush Robin sat at the top of a Rose Bush showing off in the sun! It disappeared and I looked to the sky to see 4 Steppe Eagle moving east towards the mountains. Then I was kicked of the property as it was apparently private. I didn’t give a damn as I had accomplished my mission and cycled to the bakery to grab six potato bread fresh from the oven, to celebrate! Boy, they taste so good!

Still can’t believe I turned up the 6th BLACK BUSH ROBIN for Jordan but after finding all those mega rarities in other countries that I’ve visited in the last six weeks, it kinda of didn’t come as a shock when I came across this beauty.

4 Steppe Eagles moved through east

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Jordan Day 3 Aqaba Town

3rd March 2023

A very showy Masked Shrike was in the middle of town not concerned with the heavy traffic or the 100s of folks passing close by

As it’s Friday, most places are shut including the obs. Mid-morning I headed to town to do some shopping. I grabbed a bite to eat and crossed the road and bumped into a Masked Shrike on a fence at very close range. After spending some time with the shrike, I started birding the area and came away with single Black Redstart, White-throated Kingfisher, Bluethroat, Siberian Stonechat, Reed Warbler, 2 Whitethroat, 2 Hoopoe and 4 Red-throated Pipit. Not bad considering I wasn’t even attending to go birding today.

Masked Shrike hanging out in town

Black Redstart


There were up to 4 Red-throated Pipit

And 2 Hoopoe

Tory Lee Anderson HATES His Constituents on foodbanks

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Jordan Day 2 Aqaba Bird Observatory

nd March 2023

With in the first of birding the obs, I had already seen up to 3 Oriental Honey Buzzard and was told later on that there are four individuals wintering in the area

I booked a flight to Jordan, twelve hours before I was out of Thailand and less than twenty hours later, I touched down at Aqaba Airport, Jordan. The plane that I was on out of Bangkok, it was only some three hours later, that I discovered that I was sitting in the same row, two seats from me, one of my daughters friends from Scilly!!! That’s crazy! On top of that, her friend and herself were also flying to Jordan on the same flight as me!!! This is the second time this has happened to me. While transferring in Toronto, Canada, I bumped into a family also from Scilly!! It ask the question, how many times do we almost have close contact, without knowing they are in close range, with folks/friends we know when traveling?? And sitting almost next to you on the same flight!?

The idea of coming to Jordan was for the migrants moving through and see what the crack is in the area with the folks and town. However, my mission was to see/twitch or find a Black Scrub Robin. I ain’t leaving until this mega, with less than five records for Jordan., shows itself for me. It’s a species that I’ve always wanted to see since first seeing a picture of it some twenty year ago. With all the megas I’m finding in countries I’m visiting in the last five years, it really wouldn’t surprise me if I turn more than a single bird up.

Anyways, at 08.00 this morning, I cycledon one of the bikes from the amazing digs I’m staying at, Mango House, into the entrance gates at Aqaba Bird Observatory. It wasn’t easy getting here with a checkpoint in the way where the Jordanian soldiers took my passport and said ‘Where is the Jordan stamp in your passport?’ Oh shite I thought. I grabbed the passport off him and frantically went through the pages until, to my relief, I found it. I handed it back to him and told him that you need glasses mate. He laughed and said no bikes beyond this point. Oh shite again and I started making my way back to my digs. There was a shout and he smiled and said ‘Go!’ Between the checkpoint and the Observatory you can’t stop as it’s military property. I signed in at the obs, payed the 7 diner and a few minutes later had reached the sewage ponds. Immediately the first bird I see of note is a low flying pale Oriental Honey Buzzard. I thought I wouldn’t see another one until maybe next winter but this was quickly followed by a darker individual! I guess maybe they regularly move through the area. There were over 200 White Wagtail and searching through them turned up 2 Citrine and a single Black-headed Wagtail and Water Pipit. 2 White-winged Black Tern were over the water and there were 4 Greater Sand Plover on the bank. Other waders included a single Snipe, 18 Little Stint, Green and Redshank, Marsh and Common Sandpiper and all over the shop, Green Sandpiper with a flock of 70 birds when they took the air. Ducks were also in good number, 250 Shoveler, 8 Pintail, 4 Mallard, 15 Teal and a single Wigeon. It was less than hour of being there that a trickle of Pallid Swift were arriving in off from the south. With less numbers of Swallow and Sand Martin, by 10.00 there were over 130 Pallid Swift in the air. Another Oriental Honey Buzzard flew through and was number three for the morning, with a Long-legged Buzzard. The heat was now intense by mid-day and as I was returning back to the headquarters for some shade, the Marsh Harrier tha’st been present all morning, made another pass and 2 Sparrowhawk moved through.

Felt like being back in Thailand seeing up to 3 Oriental Honey Buzzard

There were 2 White-winged Black Tern

4 Greater Sand Plover

Over 130 Pallid Swift moved through north

Black-headed Wagtail

An hour later after a rest, I birded the bushes out of the sun nearby and there were single Sardinian Warbler, Bluethroat and over 40 Chiffchaff. Returning to the pool, more hirundines had arrived in and with them were single Red-rumped Swallow and House Martin and 8 Rock Martin. In the distance to the west, I got onto 4 Steppe Eagle with a single Marsh Harrier all on the same thermals. While at the Observatory, I was told that there are up to 4 Oriental Honey Buzzard wintering in the area and there’s a Pygmy Cormorant that’s been hanging around for awhile. Of the latter species, I was keen to find as I’ve never seen one before. From the hide looking over the east pond I spotted it on the edge of the reeds with a single Coot. Just as I got on it, two cars came up the middle and flushed everything, including the cormorant. As a result I got some crackin flight views. At last, I had finally caught up with one. The time whizzed by and I had to move on as they closde at 16.00. Leaving the gates for the golf course nearby, I flushed an Isabelline Wheatear.

Out of the 50 Swallow moving through, only this Red-rumped Swallow was with them

In the scub were up to 40 Chiffchaff

At last I finally caught up with a Pygmy Cormorant

At the latter sight, I cycled around and came across a single Squacco Heron, more Green sandpiper and it or another Pygmy Cormorant. On a larger pool there were a single Greater Sand Plover, 3 Grey Plover with a handful of Ringed Plover. On my way out, a Siberian Stonechat flew across in front of me. My first days birding in Jordian proved to be as I exspected and ticked off two new species, Rock Martin and Pygmy cormorant.

Oriental Honey Buzzard heading west towards occupied Palestine, Eilat.

Tory MP’s today defending Boris Johnson need to watch this

And a lot of the media help to portray the image that Johnson is a great lad altogether. Helping to create the belief that this liar is a loveable rogue. He should be in jail.

Thailand Day 18 Mae Taeng Irrigation ProjectThailand Day 18

27th February 2023

I wasn’t expecting to catch up with Siberian Rubythroat and so far I’ve come across five, all males, including the two individuals today

Headed north again and turned out to be a crackin day with two new species. The car park where I left the scooter, overlooks a river and on there were Black-winged Stilt, 2 Temminck’s Stint, 3 Green Sandpiper and what I was very pleased to see again, were 20 Small Pratincole. Both Armur Wagtail and Stonechat were in the area but it was when I entered a large marshy part covered in scrub, tall weeds and brush, that it started to improve. I’ve now got the call of Siberian Rubythroat and after a short time, I got two males out in the open. Thick-billed and Black-browed Reed , Dusky and Radde’s Warbler were in very small numbers but it was a call that got my attention. Well, a few calls. I thought I had 2 Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler vocal in front  me and started recording them to try identify later. There was another rattle goin on nearby, but was slightly different to the PGTips. The species involved was showing well out in the open, I could see that it was the first new species of the day, Baikal Reed Warbler. By the time I changed from bins to camera, it had disappeared deeper into cover. It was then I could hear more Baikal Reed Warbler and put the recorder on. There were also Golden-headed Cisticola hanging out with the warblers.

I had 2 Siberian Rubythroat calling to each other but this individual that showed off

Radde’s Warbler

Chestnut-tailed Starling

I scootered across the other side to some ponds and here I could hear Radde’s Warbler all over the shop and got some very close views along with 6 Chestnut-tailed Starling and 3 Taiga Flycatcher. Distantly with a Eastern Buzzard, there were single Rufus-winged and Oriental Honey Buzzard on the same thermals. I moved further east along a track and took a right to the west deeper into the forest. With in ten minutes I had seen 2 Oriental Honey Buzzard including a perched bird at very close range on the side of the road. The track got narrower when I flushed a Forest Wagtail off the track only for it to drop into the leaf litter on the side. It showed well but disappeared round the corner where I lost it. So loved to have got a pic but couldn’t ask for more as it was a first for myself and one I was hoping to see while I was in Thailand. Returning back along the track there were 2 Shrika and I kicked another Oriental Honey Buzzard on the track. This individual being almost white from the other dark buzzards I had earlier, making it four for the day.

There were up to 3 Taiga Flycatcher

One of the 4 Oriental Honey Buzzard from today

Later on I sent all the recordings I got to Paul Farrell and he replied that I had Baikal Bush and Lanceolated Warbler which both sound very similar to that of Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler.

Roger Waters – Rage Against the War Machine Feb 19, 2023 speec #RogerWatersWith Love and Respect to everyone at RATWM in DC yesterday. ✊🏼🕊 _____ Official Website: Listen to Roger Waters on your favorite platform: Follow Roger Waters on Social Media: Facebook: Instagram: Twitter: Subscribe to Roger Waters’ Channel:    / rogerwaters  

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