Friday 11 November 2011

Abdullah's view of Wadi Hanifah

I have spoken before about the four bird photographers who visit the Wadi Hanifah area.  They are a rich source of information about the birds of the area and have been very friendly and helpful to me. Actually I think that if their flicker albums are analysed well then our collective knowledge on the birds of central Arabia would far extend the information in the traditional published literature. By talking to them I am also picking up some very useful knowledge.

One of the photographers, Abdullah and I spent part of Wednesday afternoon together. In my last blog I said he shown me new places to bird along wadi Hanifah.

What I didn't say was that he had kindly agreed to allow me to show some of the bird pictures from his wildlife photography album. The full album can be found on

Please visit to to see many more birds of the wadi hanifah and Riyadh area. The shots are beautiful! 

Abdullah has taken several shots of white throated kingfisher which is now a breeding bird here. I have seen it here but have not been quick enough with the camera. The picture below was taken on 30 July 2011 and the bird is present all year round.

In his article in Sandgrouse magazine in September 2004, on breeding birds of central Arabia 1978-2003, Michael Jennings predicted the bird would breed here. It now does. Indeed another bird photographer, Ahmed has pictures of young in a nest in a hole in a sand bank next to the Riyadh river.
The common kingfisher is a winter visitor to Wadi hanifah just as it was in the coastal areas of north east Libya. The photograph below was taken on 29 September 2011. In both Riyadh and north east Libya I can't find any records of it in the literature.  

Another not uncommon winter visitor is bluethroat. There are also passage birds in autumn and spring. The bird below was photographed on 19 March 2011 so I can't tell whether it has wintered here or not. It is a male of the sub species svecica in almost full breeding plumage. This is the sub species of northern Europe. I presume it was ready to fly north imminently.

I have blogged before about streaked weaver in the area. At present all are in their winter plumage but here is a male photographed by Abdullah on 8th July 2011 in full summer plumage. Two weeks ago I had a question mark whether this bird still existed in the area. I now know it is very common in parts of the wadi. 

Abdullah has sent me a picture of a stonechat taken on10 March 2011. Some stonechat stay all winter and we get both common and eastern stonechat here. From the picture, I think this one is a common stonechat.

The good news is that Abdullah has sent me a second batch of pictures which I will feature in the next blog. 

Finally I must add that in some cases I have compressed his pictures to meet the blog requirements but the originals on flickr are even better.

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