19
Nov
20

A Desert thirst for birds

Not a lot around locally at the moment other than a smattering of Dusky Warblers and this little chap.

Normally Desert Wheatears manage to turn up in the country at this time of the autumn. I’m lucky in that this little lad turned up not more than a few miles away down the coast. Tania and I spent a little time watching him on Sunday last. His range was vast and getting close to him was near impossible. I went back on Monday to see if I could get a better photo of him. He had settled down quite a bit since the previous day and was less flighty; favouring the sandy parts of a small cliff out of the wind where Sand Martins nest in the summer. Although this may have been because others had put down one or two mealworms. I say ‘may’ because I saw the bird pull one from the sand but on closer inspection of the area, when the bird wasn’t present, I couldn’t see any more.

I’m not keen on feeding birds (or other wildlife) away from bird tables for several reasons. Although there are arguments the other way too. However overall I’m against it.

The bird was an adult male. Normally they are washed out juvenile/female types. This is the first adult male I can remember seeing and he was quite a dapper individual. A real stonker. There are apparently several races within the species range of North Africa East to Mongolia. Although exactly where this individual is from, according to Shirihai ‘Birds of Israel’ p448, is indeterminable from plumage features visible in the field.


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