Thursday, 15 March 2012

The road to Dirab

On Friday afternoon, I visited the area just east of the farming district of Dirab. It was two fine small-scale waste dumps(!) which had a varied bird life when I lasted visited them in December.

first cycle white crowned wheatear

At the dump nearest to Dirab there were once again three or so white crowned wheatear. Last time I was there a fledgling one was still being fed by its parents. I suspect the bird above may be the same bird. It has just started to grow its white crown. However the most important feature for me was how tame it was. It came within two metres and allowed me this close photograph.

adult white crowned wheatear

Near-by were two adult white crowned wheatear including the one above.


Also like December, the dump still housing blackstart.

pied wheatear

There were a few changes. No hoopoe or desert lark were seen this time round. However there were at least three pied wheatear.

second pied wheatear

One of the pied wheatear was female.

female pied wheatear

One Isabelline wheatear was seen which was the same as last time!

Isabelline wheatear

A second new species here was desert finch. A pair was seen moving around the steep slopes directly behind the dump.

desert finch

The final two species here were house sparrow and little green bee-eater.

white crowned wheatear at the second site

Once again the second site, which is on the way back to Riyadh (via Al Hayer) also had at a couple of white crowned wheatear.

Turkestan shrike 

A Turkestan shrike surveyed the scene from the top of a number of bushes moving from one to another as I approached him.

In December, the first site had several hoopoe now it was the turn of the second site to have several.

white cheeked bulbul

There are a few bushes at the second site and that's enough for a group of white cheeked bulbul. The one large tree was the refuge for a large flock of house sparrow.

Finally, just past the second site on the road back towards Al Hayer from Dirab, there is an agricultural research centre. Although I have never been inside the centre you can see it is a roost. Last time I only saw 5 birds but I was tipped off by Clive Temple that could be up to 80 black kite there. 

Some of the roost of black kite

Indeed there were about 80 birds there, most were on the trees but some were in the air. The picture above shows 32 of them.

Given my experience with first cycle birds elsewhere earlier in the day, I checked and could see there were a mix of first cycle and adult birds. It left me wondering why only first cycle birds were seen earlier.

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