Saturday, October 9, 2021

October Big Day 2021

What is October Big Day? October Big Day celebrates World Migratory Bird Day. October Big Day started on October 17,2020 and is now an important day for bird conservationists because it helps determine where birds migrate and what their preferred habitat is. Last year, in 2020, 7,125 species were recorded. Worldwide, 7,287 species were counted this year. This year, 193 countries participated.
We started our day before 6 A.M, (pictured above) at the golf course because we knew that it is where we would see the most birds. It is along the beach and it has a variety of different habitats, including a canal that weaves all through the golf course. When we drove in the golf cart to the golf course in the morning, we beat all of the golfers. Usually, we have to dodge golfers when we go. The weather was cool, windy, and also humid. At the golf course, we saw a Black Eared Kite which happened to be the only one observed in Saudi that day, a Common Kingfisher at the canal,(pictured below,) and a European Bee Eater.
We also visited the nearby Ras Tanura Corniche, where we observed an abnormally large Eurasian Curlew, (pictured below,) and a Eurasian Hoopoe in the grass. When we were driving down the road leaving the corniche, we spotted six Spotted Flycatchers, two more Red Tailed Shrikes, and five Crested Larks on the barbed wire fence overlooking a scrub area. Another place we visited was the desert area behind the beach.A few interesting birds we spotted were a Greater Hoopoe Lark, yes, an actual one this time, a Juvenile Namaqua Dove, and two Spotted Flycatchers. We cooled off at the beach, but we only saw a gigantic tern of an unknown species, a Cormorant, and two Caspian Terns.
When we see a bird, unless it is a common bird around R.T, we need to identify it carefully. An important skill to know is how to identify certain birds with help from a bird book. Look at the size for a general knowledge for the group of birds. For an example, we looked at the size of the bird, which is 19-23 cm. Then we looked at shape of bill. It is long and slightly curved at the end.Then we looked at feet. Three in the front and one in the back. Finally, we looked at the color of the bird, mostly brown with a bit of white. This description matches the description of a Greater Hoopoe lark, but unfortunately we now believe it is an Isabelline Wheatear, similar in size and color, but it’s legs are skinnier and it’s bill is not as long or curved. We thought we saw a hoopoe lark at the golf course in the morning, but it turns out it was an Isabelline Wheatear. Stay tuned for more pictures and captions on my website soon!

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