Sunday, 2 September 2012

Wadi Namar revisited

Lou Regenmorter and I visited Wadi Namar south west of Riyadh early on Friday morning. This is a wadi with almost permanent natural water flow.

The emphasis is on the word almost!  Although the dammed section at the bottom of the wadi held water, further up the valley there were only a few muddy pools. August and September are probably the only time of year when the water runs dry.

The bottom end is heavily landscaped for picnickers and  has too much human disturbance.

All in all, we struggled to have a good birding experience. There were a few highlights though.

juvenile moorhen

Clearly, moorhen manage to thrive in  remaining waters. We saw several juvenile birds and they had yet to adopt the shyness of their parents.

A little bittern was seen at the largest pool up the wadi and a rufous bush robin was near-by. 

There was a strange assortment of birds at a collection of muddy watering holes. 

white-throated kingfisher

A white throated kingfisher was diving into 10cms of water. Presumably it was straying from the species normal local haunt of wadi Hanifah which links up with wadi Namar about 5 kilometres way from where this bird was seen.

A small flock of about 6 green sandpiper were also present along side a couple of little ringed plover. Feral rock pigeon and laughing dove were also present. Two Isabelline wheatear were  near-by.  A resident white crowned wheatear was clearly not happy with these visitors. He aggressively chased away the other wheatears and even had a go the green sandpiper.

grey wagtail

In another close but smaller pool, two grey wagtail were hanging around. Still water is not grey wagtail's preferred habitat but that is what they chose that day.

In the drier areas of the wadi we mostly only saw crested lark and desert lark.

We decided to leave the wadi early but on our way down and out of the wadi we stopped at a green strip down one of the escarpments. We concluded that it had probably been created by a leaky pipe system. what ever the reason for its existence the birding was reasonable here.

The few trees at the bottom of the strip held house sparrow, white spectacled bulbul and white eared bulbul.  This sighting once again proved that wadi Namar is in the overlap zone where the city-based white eared bulbul meet the white spectacled bulbul of the more natural wadis to the south west of the city.

common whitethroat

The green strip also held the only warblers seen on the visit. A single eastern olivaceous warbler scrambled rapidly up the hill side on our approach while a common whitethroat moved only a short distance and gave better views.

second view of common whitethroat

While eastern oliveaceous warbler could be a summer breeder the common whitethroat was certainly a migrant.

After this relative success, we decided there was still time to try our luck at al Hayer before we got roasted by the heat of the day. The next blog reports on what we saw.

1 comment:

  1. To now on this Session of my birding I did not see any kingfishers !!!I recorded three species in the last five years