Sunday, 8 April 2012

Coastal Jizan province

I didn't actually bird the in-land coastal strip near Jizan but we did travel through it on the way to hills. However, that didn't stop me seeing some useful birds.

I took ten minutes in the fields at a petrol stop and of course there were chances to see birds as we travelled.

One of the best sights were Abyssinian roller on the wires. This was a real reminder that this part of Saudi Arabia is truly in the Afro-tropical eco-zone.

Abyssinian roller

Abyssinian roller are resident birds but I came a little early in the year to see the many African species who breed there in the summer. They migrate over the Red Sea during the next few weeks.

two Abyssinian rollers

One bird which has already turned its mind to breeding is Ruppells weaver. The male one below is gathering reed to weaver.

Ruppells weaver

Little green bee-eater is as numerous as in the Riyadh area but white-throated bee-eater hasn't yet arrived back from Africa. They can particularly be seen near the crop fields along with barn swallow and African palm swift.

little green bee-eater

It's ironic that, as reported in yesterday's blog, I saw black -crowned sparrow lark in the city but only crested lark in the countryside.

crested lark

One obvious feature of the countryside was how many doves there were: namaqua dove, laughing dove and African collared dove. I had failed to see the latter bird in both Narjan and Baha on my last two trips to the south west. Many of them apparently go to Africa for the winter. They are either back or stay the winter in the more tropical Jizan.


Finally the only two birds of prey are came across were the ubiquitous black kite and a kestrel on a pivot cross beam.  I have made a mental note to bird this coastal strip more intensively next time. 

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