DESERT WAXWINGS

THE bird everyone wants to see - Grey Hypocolius, Jasra District, Bahrain November 2014

BAHRAIN IS THE MOST RELIABLE PLACE IN THE WORLD FOR GREY HYPOCOLIUS and it has never let us down let, although the birds' natural pre- and post-roost gathering habitat is dwindling somewhat in Bahrain's 'villaland'. Mid afternoon approached and we took up position at the latest site for Grey Hypocolius in the Jasra village area. The pre- and post-roost areas are usually patches of acacia scrub, where the birds congregate before making their way down inside the bushes, we think to dust bathe, before flying off to their roost, presently in the palms of VIP gardens. The first birds flew in from high in the sky and then more arrived, in small groups, however, as usual, there was no large build up, just lots of comings and goings of as many as 200. The birds tower from the scrub as they leave and head off with purpose towards their roosting area, sometimes swinging from side to side as they gained height, presumably to avoid potential predators. They really are unique and superb-looking, sleek birds, so reminiscent of waxwings in their appearance and behavior. In my opinion 'Desert Waxwing' would be a far more evoactive name. At the moment it doesn't need the modifier 'Grey', being the only one of its family and as for 'Hypocolius', I have no idea what that means. However, I do like the Persian name 'Meeve Khor' meaning 'Fruiteater'!

Birding Bahraini-style! Abdullah checks the hypocoliuses.