Thursday, 26 April 2012

Honey buzzard at al Hayer

There are a small number of very accomplished wildlife photographers who can often be seen in the al Hayer area south of Riyadh over the weekends.

I met up with one, Ahmed Al Kassim last Thursday. We compared notes and he showed me some pictures he had taken earlier in the day.

honey buzzard at al Hayer

One bird he photographed that morning before we met up intrigued me. It was of a honey buzzard taken at some distance and yet his photography brings out its features very well.I have taken the liberty of cropping it and showing it above (with permission).

I sent the picture to BirdForum for identification. The general consensus is that it is most probably a honey buzzard rather than an oriental honey buzzard.

This is very interesting because although both types are seen on the Saudi coasts mainly in passage times, the two main historical recorders never saw either inland near Riyadh.

This record should be seen in conjunction with my sighting of a probable oriental honey buzzard when I visited Najran in the south west of Saudi Arabia at the beginning of February.

oriental honey buzzard at Najran

I was lucky enough to get very close to that bird and even my camera work (with a camera since superseded) got good photos!

Clearly the story of the status of honey buzzard and oriental honey buzzard in Saudi Arabia is still not totally clear. Ahmed has shed a light more light on the situation.

Incidentally I strongly recommend visiting Ahmed Al Kassim's flickr site. There are currently 73 bird pictures mostly taken in the Riyadh area with some superb shots.

The URL is   My favourites are of bluethroat and white throated kingfisher but you may have your own. Take a look!

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