This is a highland bird in those places which likes cool temperatures. The sinkhole provides the same temperatures.
I had speculated that my best chance to see it was in winter or the Khareef season when it is cooler.
Temperatures have dropped considerably since early November. Sure enough I meet a flock of 10 Yemen Serin on the building next to the coffee shop at the sinkhole.
two Yemen serin on the building
I was just about to go home having even descended 30 metres down the hole to look for the birds.
There was a mobile flock on Ruepell's weaver with a couple of cinnamon bunting associating. I watched these and got out the car to look closer. If that flock hadn't have arrived I would have gone.
The cinnamon breasted bunting flew off and I tracked them to behind the coffee shop. It was then that I realised there was a second flock near them and it was Yemen serin. It was precisely 4.30 pm so an early morning start is not a necessity to see this bird.
This is a bland bird which I know from the Abha area of Saudi Arabia. The flock I saw there didn't bother with trees and neither did this one.
frontal view of a yemen serin
Several of the birds spend time hanging to one of the walls and I tried to work out why.
Yemen serin hanging to the wall
One idea I have is that they were trying to take out minerals such as salt which had leached out.
Yemen serin apparently licking or chipping the wall
I have Ruepell's weaver to thank for persuading me to stay.
Ruepell's weaver at Tawi Atair
Other notable birds at the top were a pair of Arabian wheatear which I have seen on every visit.
female type Arabian wheatear
I had never seen an African paradise flycatcher at the sinkhole before but one was there too.
The next three blogs cover what I saw on Friday which turned out to be an eventful day.