Monday, 5 December 2011

A snapshot from May

Its mid week here in Saudi Arabia and I can only really go birding at the weekends (Thursday and Friday) during these shorter winter days. I have to work during the day!

So I asked the wildlife photographer, Abdullah Amrou, if he could provide any more pictures from his collection for my blog. He has sent some from the Al Hayer area dating from late spring this year.

little bittern

The first picture is of a little bittern which breeds in the Al Hayer area. A few stay all winter too which is apparently unusual in the Middle East.

white throated kingfisher

I have posted several pictures of white throated kingfisher but I am not ashamed of posting another of this beautiful bird. As discussed before in the blog, it is resident and breeding at Al Hayer.

common sandpiper

I am confused by the local status of  common sandpiper. Tom Tarrant says he saw it from March to October in this area.  However I have seen it at Al Hayer all through November and had assumed it was a passage and wintering bird here. I had also assumed his report had a typo error and that it should have read "October to March" not "March to October"!

Yet the above picture was taken in late spring and another one was taken by  Abdullah in September (which I have previously blogged). I am beginning to wonder if there wasn't a typo after all.

To the contrary, though, the Sandgrouse article in 2004 called "breeding birds of central  Arabia 1978-2003", doesn't even mention the possibility of it being a breeding bird. If it is a summer resident (present March to October) then I think it might be the furtherest south breeding spot in the world!

Isabelline wheatear

There is total agreement with Tom on isabelline wheatear! He says "Common visitor to the Riyadh area, many remaining on cultivated areas through the summer, but no evidence of breeding seen" Well I have seen it since I arrived in late September and Adbullah has pictures like the one above throughout the year.

Also the Helms guide "Birds of the Middle East" and the Sandgrouse article don't have it as a breeding bird.

It is something to look out for this summer though.

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