Birding and Bird Photography Blog by Leander Khil

Kategorie: Asia

Ashy Drongos in Iran

Reminded by the first Ashy Drongo (Dicrurus leucophaeus) for Israel, I finally took another look at the Drongos Barbara and me recorded in south-eastern Iran in February 2014. Black Drongo (D. macrocercus) used to breed in Iran (Porter & Aspinall 2010) and I’ve heard vague reports of recent records of Black Drongo from this part of Iran. So we stamped the birds as vagrants of this species rather carelessly, although they looked more like Ashy Drongos to us… Trust your suspicions!

In Minab, south-eastern Iran, we noted the following observations of 4-5 ind., all of which I now identified as being Ashy Drongos from photos:

19.02.2014 1 ind. in Minab town and 3 ind. in the nearby date groves.
20.02.2014 1 ind. still present at the latter location.

The birds were hunting from treetops in gardens and plantations. On some of the photos, a slightly paler lower belly and vent, unglossed paler back to darker wing feathers, as well as the crimson eye are visible. Also, all birds lacked the white rictal spot typical for Black Drongo.

A little research on the net and correspondence with Iranian ornithologist friends revealed, that Ashy Drongo had been recorded in Iran for the first times in recent years. Unfortunately, informations about the exact number of records (especially claims about “firsts”) on the net are extremely confusing and there might be more records. Also, I couldn’t figure out exact dates as it seems that observations are published with different dates (Iran uses another calendar than Europe does). This is wat I got: 1 ind. was seen from 1.-30.12.2012 on Kish island, in the Persian Gulf (S. A. Jebeli; attention, the year of this record is still unclear) and 1 ind. on 25.12.2013 in south-eastern Iran (A. Sangchooli, S. Mokhtari). So, our records from Minab in February 2014 should be the third and fourth records of the species for the country.

Thanks to M. Ghasempouri, A. Hashemi, A. Hazad and A. Khaleghizadeh for their help in researching the data.

Literature
Porter R. & S. Aspinall (2010): Birds of the Middle East, Princeton Field Guides

Iran in Winter – Minab

The full report on the trip to Iran is not yet finished, I still have to figure out some IDs (particularly chewing on the gulls…). In the meanwhile, I uploaded some of the photos from the Minab region in the south-east of the country. This extremely untouristy place with it’s semi-deserts and vast date groves was a real birdwatching treat, with a good variety of raptors and the sought-after Sind Woodpecker (Dendrocopos assimilis).

Iran von Nord nach Süd

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Vortragseinladung

Montag, 17.3.2014
19:15 Uhr
Europa-Akademie Dr. Roland, Neubaugasse 43, 1070 Wien
Eintritt frei!

Iran in Winter – the North

I just came back from a marvellous trip to Iran. It will take some more time until the full trip report is finished, but here are some photos of the northern part of this huge and fascinating country, the region of Fereydoon Kenar in particular.
We spent two days at the doubtfully famous “damghas”, flooded rice fields were bird trapping (especially for ducks) is carried out to a vast extent. When searching for “Omid”, sadly the last wild Siberian Crane (Grus leucogeranus) left of the western population, we had the opportunity to see with our own eyes what’s going on in the damghas.
Thanks a lot to all of our friends who helped us during our stay in northern Iran, first and foremost Dr. Mahmoud Ghasempouri, Ellen Vuosalo-Tavakoli and Mohammad Ali Allahgholi!

Indonesia: Krakatau

Quite belated, some photos from the Krakatau archipelago which I visited in September as a tutor for the University in Vienna. Our basecamp was situated on the current volcano and central island Anak Krakatau, which surfaced around 1927 after the original Kraktau was obliterated during the famous 1883 eruption.

Indonesia: Peucang island

I spent September in Indonesia as a tutor for the University of Vienna. During the field course “training in rapid biodiversity assessment”, in cooperation with Bogor Agricultural University, a group of Austrian and Indonesian students sampled birds and butterflies on small islands off west Java.
Thus, it wasn’t a typical birding and bird photography trip – adventurous, sucessful and exciting though – as I had to supervise the bird groups most of the time in the field.

Again, I didn’t take a super tele lens with me and there was no time for dedicated wildlife photography. So the follwing set of images from the tiny paradise of Peucang island should be regarded as “bycatch” of a week of fieldwork in the South-East Asian jungle.

Peucang is a rather tiny islet off the westernmost tip of Java, part of the Ujung Kulon national park, famous for the last remaining Javan rhinos. Vegetation and terrestrial life was supposedly wiped out during the disastrous Tsunami following the major eruption and explosion of the nearby volcano Krakatau in 1883.

What we see, 130 years after this drastic event, is a rather young but untouched “primary” forest and a magnificent fauna, including three species of hornbills in a remarkable density and amazingly tame crab-eating macaque (Macaca fascicularis), wild boar (species?) and deer (species?), the origin of the at least the latter two being a little doubtful – I couldn’t find any sources on this.

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