I have changed my planned sequence of blogs following correspondence last night with my friend and birding colleague Brian James. He has just returned from a 10 day trip to the south west. In my opinion, his findings were pretty special. He added over 20 species to his Saudi list including some very interesting birds indeed.
He travelled down the coast to Jizan from Jeddah and saw such sought-after rarities as Goliath heron. He then travelled from Jizan to Abha and on to Taif. He was joined by another birder and friend, Lou Regenmorter for the second half.
Painted snipe with black winged stilt at Sabya
Painted snipe is reported as a vagrant in Oman and UAE with no reference at all to Saudi Arabia or even Yemen in the guide books. However this "African" bird appears to breed at Sabya.
African paradise flycatcher
violet backed starling
In related news I heard yesterday through Mansur Al Fahad that sacred ibis is reported by experienced Saudi birder Abdullah Al Suhaibany to be breeding in the Jizan area. Like painted snipe this is another African bird with previous vagrant status in Saudi Arabia at best. How many more are there?
Please visit Brian's blog at brianlkaust.blog.com (you can go straight to it by clicking the link in the right side bar of this blog site) for full details of the species seen on the trip. And thanks to Brian for allowing me to post his pictures.