Monday, 16 April 2012

More local birds in spring

Last Thursday was not just eventful for passage birds. One of the best other moments was the sight of a small flock of streaked weaver. I think there were seven.

This is the largest number I have seen and means they have a chance to recover from last year's bush fire which destroyed their colony with young in the nests. This year's breeding will be very important for their survival at al Hayer.

streaked weaver

Another bird which I hope breeds well is white throated kingfisher. Two Saudi bird photographers - Ahmed and Abdullah confirmed they bred last year.

white throated kingfisher

There are plenty of purple heron and squacco heron about.

purple heron

Both are confirmed local breeders. Having recently started to venture further south down the Riyadh river, I now appreciate their numbers may be quite a lot higher than I had thought.

squacco heron

A flock of cattle egret was seen again. The longer it stays the more sure I will be that they do breed here.

Namaqua dove

No sign of any turtle dove this spring, only the resident namaqua dove, laughing dove and collared dove. According to students of mine with links to the hunting community, it is getting scarcer and scarcer over recent years.

a hidden rufous bush robin

In the thrush family, all the winter bluethroat seem to have gone but there are many rufous bush robin and the resident black bush robin about. As mentioned in a previous blog white throated robin are passing through.

the ubiquitous white cheeked bulbul

I saw several very young white cheeked bulbul over the weekend (not the one above which is adult). They must have started breeding a couple of months ago without me noticing.

hovering kestrel

Finally all the eagles have gone. Birds of prey sightings at moment have been reduced to resident kestrel and passing pallid harrier and lesser kestrel as well as marsh harrier whose status is unclear to me. 


see blog from Monday 23rd April for a correction on the identity of the "kestrel"


  1. Rob - the Gulls you posted a few days ago.

    I contacted the only ringing group that rings Lesser Black Backed Gulls of the fuscus subspecies with Black Darvic rings - they are based in Norway. I sent details and a picture of the bird. I have had no reply yet but it looks like your bird, if it's fuscus comes from there?

    ATB Laurie -

  2. Laurie,

    Thanks for trying to find the origin of my fuscus bird.

    Jem in Dammmam has also followed up the ring. He says that both Norway and Finland uses the same type of ring. Also sadly they can't read it probably because it got oiled.