Thursday, 12 April 2012

Farewell to Jizan and welcome to the updated list

There have been two birds which have defied full identification since I got back from Jizan 5 days ago. Both were seen in open woodland part way up wadi ar Rayth, 100 kilometres north east of Jizan.

 probable Isabelline wheatear

Both birds have been shown to friends and experienced birders as well as posting on the bird identification page of BirdForum. The above bird has been variously called including a hippolais warbler and female hooded wheatear. The most consistent answer has been Isabelline wheatear. However no true consensus has been reached.

unknown chat

The second bird was seen very close to the first one in the same semi-wooded area. This has proved even more problematic than the first. Although it looks superficially like a blackstart this is seen as unlikely as it seems to have a dark bib. I personally support the view of one of the region's experts who thinks it is a young wheatear of some sort.

second view of unknown chat

I have expended enough time and energy on these birds and have reluctantly decided I can live without knowing! Furthermore, I have just returned from birding my local patch at Al Hayer near Riyadh where the passage plus last night's rain have made for some very interesting birding today. I'll start blogging about them tomorrow. 

In the meantime he is the definitive list from  last weekend. S means it's the first time on my Saudi list while L means its a lifer for me.

List of birds seen during the weekend of April 5th/6th in Jizan province

Green bee-eater
Lesser sand plover S,L
Brown necked raven
Yellow vented bulbul
Fan tailed raven
House crow
Common redshank S
African collared dove
Common redstart
Laughing dove
Black bush robin
Namaqua dove
Rufous bush robin
Abyssinian roller S
Greater flamingo
Common sandpiper
Bar tailed godwit  S
Curlew sandpiper S
Common greenshank S
Masked shrike
Lesser black backed gull S
African silverbill
Slender billed gull
House sparrow
Sooty gull  S, L
Tristram’s starling
White eyed gull
Black winged stilt
Striated heron
Barn swallow
Grey heron
African palm swift S
Western reef heron
Crag martin
African rock martin
Black kite
Caspian tern S
Black crowned sparrow lark S,L
Whiskered tern
Crested lark
White cheeked tern S,L
Ruddy turnstone
Common myna
Grey wagtail
Oystercatcher S
Yellow wagtail
Pink backed pelican S
Willow warbler
Rock pigeon
Arabian warbler S,L
Grey plover S
Isabelline wheatear
Pacific golden plover S,L
Desert wheatear
Ringed plover
Pied wheatear
Crab plover
Ruppells weaver
Kentish plover
Whimbrel  S

African grey hornbill  S


  1. That top one does have a dark alula which can be a characteristic........supposedly.

    Laurie -

  2. Laurie,

    Don't I know it :-)

    The tail looks right too. Not much of a head pattern though.