Saturday, September 16, 2017

Birding in Bahrain

I apologize that this is not a post about quilting just yet.  My machines are up but I am waiting on one of them to get a computer part back that had to be sent to the states to get fixed.  I'm working on a custom quilt now but I believe it will be a gift so I haven't posted pictures of it anywhere.  It is coming along nicely, but I'm  not spending hours and hours on my feet working like I did when I was in Texas.  Standing and quilting all day is hard on the back and feet.  I'm lucky to be able to take more time to complete a project and not overtax myself getting things done.  But, it will be done and I'll post pictures as soon as I know the recipient has the quilt.

In the meantime, I'm posting a little off topic.  My mom and dad have gotten extremely involved in Birding.  I have seen their enthusiasm for the hobby and during the six months my husband was here in Bahrain and I was still in Texas, I jumped in with both feet and went birding with the folks and I fell in love with it. The hunt for that bird, trying to get a perfect picture of it, identifying the birds, counting how many new birds I've seen and photographed, it's all so much fun.  It was a fantastic way for me to spend time with my parents and boy did we have some great laughs and fun stories to tell about our treks out into nature looking for birds.  Birding in Texas is great.  Migrants fly through every spring and fall, some birds winter there and of course the resident birds that stay all year are all on the list to try to capture.  When I left Texas in June, my 2017 bird count was at 145.  That's 145 different birds that I was able to get a picture of.  I've seen other birds, but without the picture to identify, we would rather not count it.  It seems like cheating when I say I've seen a Belted Kingfisher (twice) but never gotten a picture of one.  Who's to know that it was really a Belted Kingfisher?  The hardest I've ever laughed with Mom and Dad is that time the Kingfisher got away.  They rib me about it now which is a lot of fun.

Now that I'm in Bahrain, I have been trying to find out about how I could go birding here.  It's a desert island.  It's very hot in the summer with temps over 110 F.  It's also very, very humid which is another huge obstacle to overcome while outside. During the hottest, most humid days, the "feels like" temp can go over 130 F.  Yikes!!!!  Being September, the temps are starting to go down and I've noticed an increase in the birds coming into the little inlet that is very near our house.  I have read through a website about Birding in Bahrain and they mention that many birds will winter here on the island.  I believe August and September is when the migrants will come back South.  So, I decided to walk over and try to get some shots of these little creatures.

First lesson learned.....the camera needs time to acclimate to the humidity.  I had to open up the lens and try to get it warmed up and stop fogging up.  





Second lesson learned....I was in the wrong position with the sun in order to take good pictures to identify birds.  Most everything I got were silhouetted and there will be no way to identify the birds while shooting pictures into the sun.  But, it does make for some pretty shots of the area and the birds in the habitat.


I believe this is a Great White Egret

Lots of waders.  I can't identify them though.


Maybe some Great White Egrets and maybe some Herons.  I just don't know.

I believe these may be some sort of Plover or Sandpiper.

As you can tell by the pictures above, the camera finally was able to clear out of the steam on the glass and I could get clear shots.

One thing that I get frustrated about is that my camera is fast on getting pictures of birds, but my lens is not adequate to zoom in on them to get clear closeups.  Those types of lenses cost way, way too much and I just can't see myself spending thousands of dollars on a lens.  I'd rather spend that money on my quilting or on travel to see the different places around this side of the world.  So, what I do is take as close up as I can, then go into my computer and crop the birds up close.  The picture is not the greatest at all, but I can try to get an identification much better.

Once I positioned myself to where I could take some pictures of the birds to my left and right instead of into the sun, I may be able to identify the birds.  I'll have to do a lot of research to identify.
I am almost certain this is a Redshank.

This is the original shot of the Redshank above.


While I was standing there on the rocks taking pictures, our resident stray dogs came around.  Just so you all know, I am a reformed dog hater.  Before we got our little pup, Mumford, I hated all dogs.  Having him has transformed me.  Seeing these strays, skinny and dirty, makes me sad.  I took a few pictures of the dog encounter.

At first, two dogs came over and went down into the inlet.  A male and a female.



 
They plopped themselves down maybe in an effort to cool down.  These two ventured off and I continued to take pictures.  Then came along three more strays and the original two came back and started barking at the others.  The two finally left after trying to make a show of force and maybe deciding that the other three just wanted to put belly to cool wet ground just like they had.  None of the dogs stuck around for long.  Maybe they didn't like me standing so close by.





I had enough of the hot and humidity so I started making my way back home.  As I was walking I noticed a little bird fly out from the rocks.  I'm trying to find out what kind of bird this is.  I believe that I captured the male and then the female.  Now to go try to identify them.





All in all, a somewhat successful bird outing but only because of the last two birds.  I know there are places I can go to try to get pictures of birds, it just needs to cool down a little more.  In the meantime, some area shots of my little part of Bahrain.

No, not a McDonalds, just the Hidd bridge.

I will be able to get clear shots of the city from where we are without the haze once it cools down.  

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