Tuesday, 11 June 2013

North of Khobar

Having spotted my one target bird for last weekend, Socotra cormorant, so early on, I spent the second day (Friday) speculatively birding an area a little further north of Thursday's. 

This meant I birded the central and northern corniche of Khobar and then on to the Dammam port area.

white cheeked tern

To be honest the central and northern corniche at Khobar were a bit of a disappointment. Although neatly landscaped with lawns, palm trees and water features, it is not as natural a setting as the southern end.  The coastline itself is mostly artificial boulders too.

Nevertheless there were a few highlights. I managed to see another tern species, white cheeked tern, to add to the three species seen the day before. 

western reef heron

The lack of vegetative cover at the water features didn't stop the odd western reef heron making an appearance.

house crow

I hadn't seen house crow on Thursday but it was easily seen in the parkland alongside more common myna, house sparrow, white eared bulbul and crested lark.  

common myna

Collared dove again was very numerous.

collared dove

Birding became more interesting again as I left Khobar and headed towards Dammam port stopping briefly at the so called high roost on the border of the two cities.

black winged stilt

Here were the first black winged stilt seen on the trip and a few more western reef heron.


In the port itself are several bunded water filled areas whose purpose I am not sure of but which make some for some of the best birding in the area.

the full group of flamingo

One such bunded area held five sub adult flamingo.


Indeed one of the features of the weekend was seeing sub adult and therefore non-breeding birds which belong to species which don't regularly breed in the area but do so relatively close by. Slender billed gull for example don't breed here but do so in Kuwait as I understand it.  

One possible interpretation is that these sub adults come for the winter and over summer because there is no biological imperative for them to move on.  Who knows whether this explains the odd greenshank and dunlin also seen but which I can't age unlike the gulls and flamingo.

second cycle slender billed gull

The mangroves at the port have taken a battering since the last time I visited with an ill considered (and apparently abandoned) road  having cut off the tide to part of it. What a shame.


In the diminished area were more waders than any where else over the weekend. These included curlew, common redshank and greater sand plover.

greater sand plover (left), dunlin (centre) and kentish plover

Its always a pleasure to see sand plovers and usually a headache in identification terms too. Its easier in summer when the vast majority are greater sand plover which breeds locally.

This was a rewarding end to a gentle weekend's birding in the fierce heat of a Saudi summer.

No comments:

Post a Comment