It was every bit as exciting and rewarding as I had hoped. We saw 105 species. 10 were new additions to my Saudi list and 4 were lifers. Although we saw virtually the same birds, Mansur added 15 to his Saudi list because this was his first birding around Jizan. The full list will be given later.
I will blog in detail over the next few days and I am sure you will be surprised by some of the species we saw. I also have some excellent pictures mostly taken by Mansur.
zitting cisticola taken by me near lake Maliki
As a taster, I can tell you we both saw zitting cisticola. This is supposedly only found right on the border with Yemen but we observed it once next to a lake and secondly in a grass field well north of Jizan. Both locations were north of the helms guide distribution map. And this was a major part of the story - birds were where you might not expect them.
second view of zitting cisticola
I have previously seen this bird in sub Saharan Africa and Ain Kaam in Libya. It was good to met an old friend.
third view of zitting cisticola
The bird at the side of a grass field near Sabya was a shock whereas the initial sighting near Lake Maliki was almost expected.
Lake Maliki is a real gem as I hope to prove over the next few days but the whole Jizan area is the most magical birding in the Kingdom. I am not the first one to use those words nor do I expect to be the last.