Week 20 - Operational Birding at its best! Episode II

Richards reports, mostly from Camp Bastion. Now a closed site (until he gets back!)

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Lesser Spot Finder
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Week 20 - Operational Birding at its best! Episode II

Postby Lesser Spot Finder » Sun Aug 26, 2007 5:30 am

26 Aug 07

Welcome to Birdline Camp Bastion, Sunday evening update.

Another excellent week which featured numerous Warblers and an influx of Shrikes. Tree Sparrows and Crested Larks are numerous with the latter forming flocks of up to thirteen around the bottling plant.

Isabelline Shrikes arrived in numbers and as I type are still around the camp. Both first year and adult birds are present. Most individuals have been found at the Eastern end of camp but birds have turned up almost everywhere.

Rufous Bush Chats remained until Wednesay with a count of three on Tuesday however the star of the week was a splendid adult European Roller which has been seen on and off around the ammunition compound. This bird has been described to me by many individuals who have flushed it during runs. It is amazing how a brightly coloured bird can spark an interest in anyone.

Warblers have been well represented this week with both Syke's and Booted Warblers around the water bottling plant. It is obvious that I missed the former during the spring as it is a breeding species in Afghanistan summering all the way up to the north of the Hindu Kush. Booted Warbler is a passage bird and in contrast was easy to find in the early part of the tour. An Eastern Olivaceous Warbler made another appearance at the beginning of the week and confirmed all my sightings in April and May. Clamerous Reed Warblers were seen, mostly in flight, in the centre of camp where they found barbed wire around the REME compound to their liking. Finally Blyth's Reed Warbler continued to pass through in small numbers and a Plain Leaf Warbler associated with a first year Orphean Warbler on Thursday, again around the bottling plant.

Two Yellow Wagtails of the race lutea were flushed on Tuesday just as a flock of 30+ Trumpeter Finches flew overhead. This species was long expected and made the remainder of the day. During a run on Thursday I glimpsed the distinct outline of a Hoopoe as it flew over the perimiter fence and off into the desert.

Friday provided the largest number of species with the usual suspects around various locations. The Orphean Warbler remaind and a single Palm Dove drank at standing water at midday. A flock of 40+ Red-wattled Plover flew over the cookhouse at last light whilst the European Roller appeared again at the ammunition compound along with several Isabelline Shrike of various ages and sexes.

Two Barn Swallows, a juvenile Rose-Coloured Starling, Crested Larks and Isabelline Shrikes provided the only bird species on Saturday but a description given to me of one bird was almost certainly a European Bee-Eater.

Little around today, Isabelline Shrike and Crested Larks are prolific. A Syke's Warbler made an appearance in the morning and an alba Wagtail of the race personata - the 'Masked Wagtail' flew over at midday.

The species list continues to grow but I look forward to seeing more familiar birds (and perhaps a couple listed above) on Texel with the AOS in October.

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