Monday, 14 May 2012

The warblers of wadi Arar

One of the best birding features of the new lakes in wadi Arar were the warblers. They were numerous and deserve more study than my time there allowed.

Willow warbler was particularly abundant. I counted at least 22 on my walk round.

willow warbler

 However there were also acrocephalus warblers present even though the reeds are only just starting to grow.

view of one of the lakes

I saw sedge warbler in three different places. I would not be surprised if they were to breed there this summer. This species was a welcome addition to my Saudi list.

sedge warbler

I heard European reed warbler, a long time before I saw one. I suspect they will probably start breeding there this summer too.  It looks ideal habitat and they are known to breed a lot further south. 

reed warbler

The only sylvia warbler I met was common whitethroat. There aren't many bushes there yet to make it very attractive for the sylvia family of birds.

Upcher's warbler

There were two different grey hippolais present. There were both eastern olivaceous warbler and Upchers warbler. Eastern olivaceous warbler breeds all over the eastern Mediterranean and the middle East. However Upcher's warbler has a more restricted summer area. It just happens to be directly north of Arar particularly in southern and eastern Turkey and Iraq. Seeing it in Arar was no real shock. 

The photo quality above is not good but it has enough features for me and the correspondents on BirdForum to say it is an Upcher's warbler. For me the long legs and pale panel on the secondary feathers are important factors. The last and only time I had previously seen Upchers warbler was in Azerbaijan four years ago. It another first for my Saudi list. 

In the next blog, I will report on my visit on the second day in the north to the Al Jouf farming area.  I had a "lifer" there.

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