Glossy ibis, squacco heron and marsh sandpiper. Photo by Mansur Al Fahad
The two commonest heron family members were glossy ibis and squacco heron. I looked carefully through the glossy ibis for juvenile northern bald ibis. This is a known area for the wintering of the Syrian population which is in danger of extinction.
A view across the back waters of Lake Maliki
At one stage a cluster of glossy ibis with other birds included great egret, little egret, redshank, ruff, black winged stilt, northern shoveller and garganey (partially captured in the picture below).
glossy ibis, great egret and several other species
Cattle egret were also present in numbers and were most often seen in the adjacent fields.
Cattle egret with some sheep. Photo by Mansur Al Fahad
I think there were probably more purple heron than grey heron around. This is indicative of the southern latitude.
Arguably the best sighting in the heron family was a great bittern. This was my first sighting in Saudi Arabia despite the latitude. Surely not many great bittern are found this far south.
Rear view of a great bittern taking off. Photo by Mansur Al Fahad
Great bittern on the move
Early in the first morning before we reached Lake Maliki, we birded a small wadi. Here a flock of spoonbill was seen overhead on the move towards the coast from the direction of Lake Maliki.
Spoonbill. Photo by Mansur Al Fahad
Spoonbill with dark morph Western reef heron
Sadly goliath heron was not seen but it leaves something to look forward to on the next visit.