Monday, 8 October 2012

Non waders at Jubail

Yesterday I looked at the waders found at Sabkhat al Fasl at Jubail. This large wetland has plenty of other types of bird too.

Terns were almost immediately apparent when we arrived and continued to be seen all day.   

white winged tern

There were three types. These were white winged tern, little tern and Caspian tern. The former was a first for me in Saudi Arabia. 

part of the lake

Caspian tern were all seen close to the more saline end of the complex.

Caspian tern

Despite the terns, arguably the most obvious family of birds seen on Thursday were the herons. Even a non-birder wouldn't fail to notice them. It's not just their size but the numbers. There were tens of grey heron and large numbers of little egret and squacco heron. There were also a small number of both purple heron and little egret. However, Lou and I were surprised not to see any little bittern which is common in reed areas in central Arabia.

Squacco heron

There were several marsh harrier patrolling all day long. A male pallid harrier was also seen. Indeed it just after seeing this that Lou Regensmorter and I bumped into local birder Phil Roberts who has been birding this area for the past 7 years. Thanks to Phil for some useful tips which helped us on our way round. It always seems strange to meet other birders in Saudi Arabia but happily its becoming increasingly frequent.

Marsh harrier

There were other birds of prey present. An osprey was seen on two or three occasions.


Just after midday, three eagles passed over head, slowly heading south but they were too distant for us to identify them. A picture is shown below.


There were surprisingly few passerines. However we were lucky enough to see a common nightingale out in the open. It looks like the eastern sub species which some people feel should be a full species of its own.

common nightingale

Yellow wagtail was the most plentiful passerine. Many were of the sub species beema sometimes called syke's wagtail like the one below.

yellow wagtail 

We probably saw only a couple of wheatears.

pied wheatear

Although we had passing glimpses of a very few warblers, we actually didn't see any for long enough to identify all day. We thought this was very strange.

spotted flycatcher

This spotted flycatcher was more accommodating.

blue cheeked bee-eater

One of the final birds we saw was a resting  blue-cheeked bee-eater.

All in all Sabkhat al Fasl makes for very interesting birding.  

The next blog continues to look at more birding in the eastern province.We spend Friday on the coast in the Khobar and Dammam area. This is a little south of Jubail. I'll start to tell you what we observed there.

No comments:

Post a Comment