2019 Review

Review of 2019

The first half of the year was marked by the protracted, but sporadic appearance of passage migrants with a number of species recorded in significantly smaller numbers than in past years.

Up to three Little Crake Porzana parva were at West Saliya lagoons from 9 March to 5 April.

Little Crake © Gavin Farnell

They were joined by Baillon’s Crake P. pusilla from 10 to 12  March – the first sightings of both since 2013. 

Baillons crake © Gavin Farnell

In addition, Spotted Crakes P. porzana  – which occurs more regularly in Qatar – were at West Saliya and at nearby Abu Nakhla on various dates between 27 February and 5 April. A Grey-Headed Swamphen Porphyrio [porphyrio] poliocephalus was at Irkayya Lagoons on 22May; this was only the fourth record of the species but it may be under-recorded in comparison with the more abundant African Swamphen P. madagscariensis.

The first Greater Painted-Snipe Rostratula benghalensis for Qatar was discovered at Irkayya Lagoons on 3 May.  The adult female was present until 10 May. 

Greater-Painted Snipe © Simon Tull

Two Spur-Winged Lapwing Vanellus spinosus were at West Saliya Lagoons on 1 March and on 22 to at least 3 June. A single White-Tailed Lapwing Vanellus leucurus was at Irkayya Farm on 1 February. A summer plumage Caspian Plover Charadrius asiaticus was at Irkayya Farm on 30 April.

A European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus was at Al Bidda Park, central Doha – an exceptionally early record. The appearance of the species in larger numbers at the beginning of May was more typical. An Egyptian Nightjar C. aegyptius was at Irkayya Farm on 12 April – another early record.

Egyptian Nightjar. Photo Credit Simon Tull

A single Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis was at al Khor on 23 March. Numbers of Masked Shrike Lanius nubicus, Red-Backed Shrike L. collurio and Lesser Grey Shrike L. minor peaked in mid-May, when they were widespread throughout Qatar but in general numbers appeared to be reduced in comparison with past years.

Masked Shrike © Simon Tull

A flock of at least 40 Calandra Lark Melanocorypha calandra was at Irkayya Farm from 16-22 February – this was only the second Qatar record of the species.

Calandra Lark © Gavin Farnell

A European Robin Erithacus rubecula was seen intermittently at Irkayya Farm from the beginning of the reporting period to 29 March. A Black Scrub Robin Cercotrichas podobe was at Irkayya Farm on 10 May. A Thrush Nightingale Luscinia lusciniawas at Al Shamal Park on 26 April. White-throated Robin Irania gutturalis made their usual appearance in the last week of April, but numbers peaked later than usual and individuals at Al Shamal Park on May 17 and at Al Wakra on 19 May were particularly late records. A female Semi-collared Flycatcher Ficedula semitorquata was at Al Shamal Park on 26 April. Two Yellow-Throated Sparrow Gymnoris xanthocollis were at Abu Dhalouf Park 22-29 March. As noted above, Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava numbers were substantially reduced in comparison with past years.

Over the second half of the year there were three Greater White-Fronted Goose Anser albifrons were at an undisclosed location on 17th November. A Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor was recently reported, with the sighting from Al Shamal dating back to 3rd Dec 2013. This is the only record of the species for Qatar. A Eurasian Bittern was at Irrikaya Farm Lagoons on 1st November. 

A single pale form European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus was at Irrikaya Farm on 24th November. Two Crested Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhyncus were at Al Aamriya on 9th December. There were three separate sightings of Short-Toed Snake Eagle Circaetus gallicus at various locations between mid October and mid December. There were two Northern Steppe Buzzard Buteo b. vulpinus at Irrikaya Farm from 2nd Nov to at least 19th December.

Northern Steppe Buzzard © Simon Tull

A juvenile Black-Eared Kite Milvus migrans lineatus was seen at Irrikaya Farm on 12th October. A female / juvenile Amur Falcon Falco amurensis was at Irrikaya Farm on 26th November. 

Black-Eared Kite, Qatar
Black-Eared Kite © Simon Tull

Four Spur-Winged Lapwing Vanellus spinosus were found at West Saliya Lagoons on 27th September, with two birds at nearby Abu Nakhla the following day. One was a juvenile. A White-tailed Lapwing Vanellus leucurus was at Al Khor Mangroves on 1st November.

Spur-Winged Lapwing © Simon Tull

A Stock Dove Columba oenas was at Irrikaya Farm on 3rd December, a national first.  A pair of Pied Cuckoo Oxylophus jacobins were at Irrikaya Farm from 6th November into late December.

Pied Cuckoo. © Simon Tull

A Yellow-Browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus was at Al Shamal Park on 11th October.

Yellow-Browed Warbler, Qatar
Yellow-Browed Warbler © Simon Tull

A single adult male Black-throated Thrush Turdus atrogularis  was at Irrikaya Farm on 14th November. A Thrush Nightingale Luscinia luscinia was at Irrikaya Farm on 13-14th September. A Masked Wagtail Motacilla alba personata was at Al Shamal Park on 11th October.  A Richard’s Pipit Anthus richardi was Irrikaya Farm on  9th November. Two Yellow-Throated Sparrows Gymnoris xanthocollis were at Abu Dhalouf Park on 6th  September.

Yellow-throated sparrow © Gavin Farnell