Monday, 9 April 2012

Quality Red Sea migration

For the last three days of the trip, I chilled out on the southern Red Sea coast. As well as wandering around in the tropical, picture postcard mangroves of Wadi Lahami failing to see Goliath Heron (having visited this site on 3 trips, I've only seen it once) there were a shed load of passerines going over too - predominantly flava wagtails, Red-throated and Tree Pipits and Short-toed Larks. Once in the nearby gardens of Lahami Bay, though, colour and quality popped up all over the place. It was genuinely exciting birding...
male Red-spotted Bluethroat - dozens of these hopping around the flower beds of Lahami Bay

presumably another svecica, this time a female

Red-throated Pipit complete with tick

superciliaris Yellow Wagtail; a properly smart bird

Black-headed Wagtail... but would this feldegg get through the BBRC with a throat like that? I'd like to think so.

This feldegg is exactly what you see in the text book; though many birds had assortments of white head fleckings

an inquisitive, confiding Eastern Stonechat... probably armenicus?

male Caucasian Stonechat, presumably ssp. armenicus

large flocks of Short-toed Larks heading north with vitesse

Collared Pratincole enjoying an early evening visit to the swimming pool for a quick drink
As touched upon above, there were some really interesting identification challenges too, that I'll come onto in later posts. Particularly interesting were the varieties of Yellow Wagtails and the stonechats that were seen - seemingly all armenicus from what I can tell. The females, particularly, seem to be indistinguishable from maurus in the field, from what the ringers in Israel say about not being able to see the white in the tail unless its specifically spread in the hand.

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