Saturday, 2 March 2013

Waders on the east coast

This is the third and last blog to report on Mansur Al Fahad's trip to the east coast two weeks ago.

Thanks once to Mansur for providing photographs and permission to blog.

Eurasian curlew on the east coast

By all accounts, the waders included very many and varied plovers. It looks like it was an ideal opportunity to brush up on ones identification skills for this tricky class of birds.

Grey plover

This young grey plover could fool some people by its slightly golden hue.

Greater sand plover

Parts of both the west coast and east coast of Saudi Arabia have both lesser sand plover and greater sand plover side by side.

Both Mansur and I agree the top bird is a greater sand plover although this one is a tricky identification from one photo.They have a larger head, eye and bill but if these aren't easily discerned or are ambiguous I look at the shape of the bill. It is more pointed in a greater sand plover.

Lesser sand plover

Note the blunter look of the bill in this second bird which is a lesser sand plover.

Kentish plover and little stint

Kentish plover are easy to tell part by their white collar which extends all the way round.

Ringed plover

This orange legged plover is ringed plover not little ringed plover even though its beak is not orange with a black tip which should appear later.

Redshank

Identifying the shanks was easier! Above is a redshank and below is a greenshank.

Greenshank

Ruddy turnstone was present. It's actually one of the most widespread birds in the world. I saw them on two pacific islands for example during my last summer break.

Ruddy turnstone

The common sandpiper below was blown about in the wind.

Common sandpiper

Mansur and I both also agree this final bird is a curlew sandpiper in pure winter plumage although this is the identification I struggled with the most.

Curlew sandpiper

The legs are long and the bill is significantly decurved and there looks like a white rump hidden there.

The next blog is about my trip over the weekend to Zulfi, a farming community 250 kilometres north of Riyadh. Even it had some waders despite being inland.

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