Saturday, 29 September 2012

Warblers in a wadi at Heet

Yesterday, Lou and I meet up with Mansur al Fahad for the first time. Mansur is a proficient Saudi birder who birds throughout KSA but especially in the Riyadh area.

He kindly showed us two or three new spots which didn't know about before. 

One of the spots was a wadi near Heet where a pharaoh eagle owl lives. We visited it in the middle of the day when the owl was almost certainly asleep (and was not seen) however we look forward to visiting there in early morning or late evening when it is active.

Nevertheless, the wadi turned out to be very interesting for another reason. The few scattered trees were full of warblers on passage.

A male blackcap

The first two warblers we identified were a male blackcap and a lesser whitethroat.

A second male blackcap

That tree only had two warblers in it but we then noticed that some trees had many more. I counted 35 blackcap all together. The maximum was 21 in a single tree.

Rather strangely there were 5 times more males than females.

many blackcap in one tree

I was very pleased to see three barred warbler travelling with them. This is the first time I had seen barred warbler in KSA. It makes number 228 on my Saudi list.

barred warbler

We reckon there were also at least three lesser whitethroat in the wadi and an Upcher's warbler but the vast majority were blackcap.

first year ortolan bunting

 A single ortolan bunting was also seen. It was easy to approach and was probably very tired. I am proud to say I resisted the temptation to get too close and it was not disturbed off its resting perch.

blue rock thrush

The final bird of this wadi was a blue rock thrush, the first I have seen this season. it flew up the wadi's hill side towards where we believe a pharoah eagle owl was sleeping.

Many thanks to Mansur al Fahad for showing us this new site.

1 comment:

  1. Good morning Rob, this morning near our place yesterday, 3 Acacia trees is full by warblers ! 7 to 8 lesser whitethroat in one tree!also many blackcap and a new for me is (booted warbler)woow