Monday, 12 December 2011

Spring at the fish farm

It's mid week in Saudi terms again. It's three days before I next go birding. However, as in the last two mid weeks,  Abdullah Amrou, the wildlife photographer has kindly agreed to share some more photographs from previous seasons.

This mid week and next, I'm posting photos from March and April taken at three different locations in central Saudi Arabia.

common tern at Al Kharj fish farm

Today's blog looks at some of the birds that Abdullah has taken in March and April at Al Kharj fish farm about 80 kilometres south east of Riyadh.

It's a place I visited last month and saw such rarities (for central Arabia) as whiskered tern, Temmincks stint, rosy starling and spur winged lapwing.

second view of common tern

Abdullah's first featured bird is a common tern in near full summer plumage. Collins European guide says that European based common tern winter in west and south Africa. Helms Middle Eastern guide says that they breed in Iraq and neighbouring countries and that a small number winter in Yemen and Oman. It doesn't say where the rest go but its presumably further south such as East Africa. Helms further says common tern is widespread in the Middle East on passage - like this bird.

third view of common tern

Another passage bird snapped at the fish farm by Abdullah was a European bee-eater. This breeds throughout the northern half of the Middle East and is on passage north throughout all the southern half in March and April.

Its a similar situation with European roller. Its a passage bird here seen only in March, April and September. 

European roller

Furthermore European roller is common during this period.

second view of a European roller at the fish farm

Although purple heron, black crowned night heron, and squacco heron all breed in central Arabia there is still some uncertainty whether grey heron do. They are locally common in a few places all winter. 

grey heron at Al Kharj

Another bird which both winters in the area and is seen on passage is Turkestan shrike

Turkestan shrike at the fish farm

The bird above is showing summer plumage.

second view of Turkestan shrike

The most common member of the great grey shrike complex that is seen at Al Hayer is steppe grey shrike. It is a probable breeder too. 

However the bird photographed at Al Kharj fish farm (50 kilometres further south) is much darker and has hardly any supercilium. It looks more like the aucheri sub species of great grey shrike. Its a pity its wing flash can't be seen which would have helped with identification.  

If it is aucheri then this bird is normally resident. Some authorities say it is the  main sub species in southern Arabia and Sinai. This picture seem to support them.

Finally Abdullah last photograph from Al Kharj fish farm is of a little egret. This species is certainly there all winter and spring. It may well breed there too. 

little egret at Al Kharj

I will be interested to see if little egret remain at the site this coming summer.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Rob :))

    I would like to thank you for these great knowledges , How we need to find the real names of birds in Saudi Arabia , May we know them in Arabic , But here I think I found what was missed ..

    Thank you ever so much Rob to make this great index ..

    It is fact and sure to visit your blog several times , and I will till all friends and wild photographers who need these great knowledges about birds .

    Wish you the best Rob .

    Regards ,

    Abdullah Amrou

    Wish you