Sunday, December 30, 2012

The doves of Jizan

Its difficult to know where to start with the trip to Jizan last weekend but I am going with a nice self-contained group - the doves. 

African collared dove

 You don't go to the south west corner of Saudi Arabia without the hope of seeing African collared dove.  Actually they aren't that common but we picked a couple up quite easily at the back waters of Lake Maliki.

Laughing dove at dawn

Laughing dove is the most abundant dove there and elsewhere in the south west. Rock dove (feral pigeon) is also obviously common too.

European collared dove

A much more pleasing find was a group of European turtle dove. This is described in my Helms guide to the Middle East as "rare wintering in south Arabia". These birds were the arenicola sub species of the Middle East. I wouldn't rule out residency. 

Namaqua dove

Namaqua dove is quite easy to see around the lake and in drier areas. 

Red eyed dove

A speculative drive up into the hills towards the end of Thursday yielded a dividend. We met the hill loving red eyed dove. This was one of the four lifers for me on the trip and a great way to end the first day.

red eyed dove on the ground

Having seen Bruce's green pigeon and dusky turtle dove on previous visits to the south west, my target list of south western doves is now down to one - African olive pigeon though African vagrants can't be ruled out.

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