So we visited it again, this time obviously in winter to see what it might hold.
landscape at Rhawdat Khuriam
In many ways it was a bit disappointing.
problematic desert whitethroat
Only two warblers were seen. These were desert whitethroat and Asian desert warbler.
problematic desert whitethroat takes off
Desert whitethoart was very common though we spent far too long trying to identify one particular bird before realising that its abberant colour around the throat was probably caused by it getting too far into some dust.
dirty faced desert whitethroat
The most common bird by far was house sparrow followed by white eared bulbul and collared dove. Laughing dove and rock pigeon were also present.
One really positive about Rhamdat Khuraim is that it is the easiest and most guaranteed place in central Arabia to see Arabian babbler. There are often seen close to picnickers too.
The only lark seen was crested lark which was flocking in quite large groups. It only does this in mid winter in these parts.
Other birds near-by were desert wheatear often accompanied by Asian desert warbler and a single Isabelline wheatear which rarely winters north of Riyadh.
adult or near adult Eastern Imperial eagle
Lou and I were discussing with each other why we hadn't seen any birds of prey over the oasis with its supply of passerines, pigeons and many gerbils. We were hypothesising that the cold morning temperatures might be cramping their style, when just as we were leaving the park we came across an adult or near adult Eastern Imperial eagle.
second view of Eastern Imperial eagle
The two white stripes on its shoulders are useful characteristics to help identification. Strangely the pictures in the Helms guide show these stripes on the perched bird but they have been missed off the pictures of adult and sub adult birds in flight.
third view of Eastern Imperial eagle
Almost all the Eastern Imperial eagle I have seen in KSA have been juveniles. This was a welcome exception that made the visit to Rhawdat Khuriam a much better experience than it would have been without.