The End of Week 5

Birding reports from from our rep in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
Lesser Spot Finder
Posts: 230
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2007 11:25 am
Location: Farnborough and anywhere between there and Norfolk
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The End of Week 5

Postby Lesser Spot Finder » Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:44 am

This week has been a great week. Birds have started to arrive and in the case of Hoopoe , in good numbers. Swallows have arrived on the scene with the first on the 26th February. The first three Bastion Common Mynas appeared on the same day with two a couple of days later.

I moved to MOB Price on the 27th/28th February initially to take pictures of Katherine Jenkins who was visiting but sadly her trip was cancelled as all the RAF flights kept breaking down in Cyprus (funny that). The trip wasn’t wasted though and I managed to get some work done. The Black Kites remained in good numbers as did Common Myna, Tree Sparrow and Starling. I flushed a lone Laughing Dove which flew into the US compound. Two Swallows were seen, flying south, on both days

On the 1st of March a drive by the Role 3 Hospital in the morning produced my first confirmed male Pied Bushchat of the tour. Mid-morning I returned to Runway’s End Marsh and immediately picked up a Hoopoe and as I walked south another Rustic Bunting, this time a male. The day had started well. In the afternoon I ran back towards the marsh and turned north along the perimeter fence. Halfway down I flushed a warbler from the drainage ditch as I ran past and hit moved, very quickly, along the ground before giving up at flying off. It was apparent that I had flushed an Asian Desert Warbler and this certainly made the run worthwhile.

The 2nd March was a day of days. At 0800hrs I was driving the Quartermaster to the helicopter flightline when I spotted the distinct silhouette of a Shrike on the barbed wire fence, quickly followed by another, then another and one flying off. On my return I slowed down and was looking at a stunning Turkestan Shrike. By the end of the day I had found ten separate Shrikes, all at the side of busy roads where the were obviously feeding on insects flushed by passing vehicles. The migration had returned.

Yesterday I bumped into another two Shrikes, both female, and got good shots on my camera. As I drove out of the camp towards Bastion 1 I picked up a lone Wheatear sized bird in the distance. I zoomed in my camera and took a record shot. On the return I went to my tent, enlarged the image on my laptop, and confirmed a stunning male Variable Wheatear, not a lifer but clearly the bird of the day. In the afternoon I grabbed my camera and walked out of the back of our complex in the hope of capturing some White Wagtails I had seen earlier. As I approached the spot possibly the same Variable Wheatear flew up from the ground and into the US Compound. As I knew of a gap in the fence and that there were no Americans about I sneaked in and managed to get some more shots of the bird.

You may have noticed that I have not mentioned Crested Larks or Tree Sparrow lately in Bastion. They are omni present so I will refrain from mentioning them unless I must. I’m off soon with the camera down to the Marsh. Watch this space.
Last edited by Lesser Spot Finder on Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Lesser Spot Finder
Posts: 230
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2007 11:25 am
Location: Farnborough and anywhere between there and Norfolk
Contact:

Re: The End of Week 5

Postby Lesser Spot Finder » Sun Mar 04, 2012 7:10 am

Lesser Spot Finder wrote:This week has been a great week. Birds have started to arrive and in the case of Hoopoe in good numbers. Swallows have arrived on the scene with the first on the 26th February. The first three Bastion Common Mynas appeared on the same day with two a couple of days later.

I moved to MOB Price on the 27th/28th February initially to take pictures of Katherine Jenkins who was visiting but sadly her trip was cancelled as all the RAF flights kept breaking down in Cyprus (funny that). The trip wasn’t wasted though and I managed to get some work done. The Black Kites remained in good numbers as did Common Myna, Tree Sparrow and Starling. I flushed a lone Laughing Dove which flew into the US compound. Two Swallows were seen, flying south, on both days

On the 1st of March a drive by the Role 3 Hospital in the morning produced my first confirmed male Pied Bushchat of the tour. Mid-morning I returned to Runway’s End Marsh and immediately picked up a Hoopoe and as I walked south another Rustic Bunting, this time a male. The day had started well. In the afternoon I ran back towards the marsh and turned north along the perimeter fence. Halfway down I flushed a warbler from the drainage ditch as I ran past and hit moved, very quickly, along the ground before giving up at flying off. It was apparent that I had flushed an Asian Desert Warbler and this certainly made the run worthwhile.

The 2nd March was a day of days. At 0800hrs I was driving the Quartermaster to the helicopter flightline when I spotted the distinct silhouette of a Shrike on the barbed wire fence, quickly followed by another, then another and one flying off. On my return I slowed down and was looking at a stunning Turkestan Shrike. By the end of the day I had found ten separate Shrikes, all at the side of busy roads where the were obviously feeding on insects flushed by passing vehicles. The migration had returned.

Yesterday I bumped into another two Shrikes, both female and got good shots on my camera of both. As I drove out of the camp towards Bastion 1 I picked up a lone Wheatear sized bird in the distance. I zoomed in my camera and took a record shot. On the return I went to my tent enlarged the image on my laptop and confirmed a stunning male Variable Wheatear, not a lifer but clearly the bird of the day. In the afternoon I grabbed my camera and walked out of the back of our complex in the hope of capturing some White Wagtails I had seen earlier. As I approached the spot possibly the same Variable Wheatear flew up from the ground and into the US Compound. As I knew a gap in the fence and that there were no Americans about I sneaked in and managed to get some more shots of the bird.

You may have noticed that I have not mentioned Crested Larks or Tree Sparrow lately in Bastion. They are a still present but very much everywhere so I will refrain from mentioning them unless I must. I’m off soon with the camera down to the Marsh. Watch this space.
Just returned from the Marsh. Great photos of a Hoopoe and a male Daurian Shrike feeding on a beetle. Total species on the tour now at nineteen.


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