Thursday 3 November 2011

Corniche, Jeddah

I visited the corniche in Jeddah today partly because other birders have recommended it for those are staying in the Jeddah area. I'm not sure whether I went to the best part because I couldn't easily find any references from the birding records as to where that might be! So I guessed. I spent the late morning and early afternoon towards the southern end of this 32 kilometre stretch.
white eyed gull

At first, I wasn't sure that I had chosen right. The only obvious water bird was white-eyed gull. I wasn't too unhappy as this is a lifer for me.

view of part of the corniche

As it happens I only saw one other gull type all the time I was birding today and that was a single individual. It posed a problem it looked superficially like a textbook yellow legged gull but its legs were flesh coloured. Actually contrary to many books I saw many yellow legged gull with pink legs in Azerbaijan. They only go yellow with the truly adult birds (not "sub adult" or 2 year old ones). I don't really think this is emphasised enough in bird guide books. 

probable sub adult yellow-legged gull

The bird has a white tip at the end of the bill and is possibly growing a black band in front of it so I am tentatively going with sub adult yellow- legged gull and armenian gull as first reserve.

ringed plover

After a few minutes only noticing gulls I started to pick up quite large numbers of waders.  Probably the most common was ringed plover both on the red sea coast and in the landscaped inlets.

kentish plover

Slightly less common were kentish plover which I only saw on the sea beaches and not in the inlets. I have no theories for why this was the case.


I seem to be seeing dunlin only in ones this winter. I saw one in Riyadh's wadi hanifah and I saw a single one on the beach at Jeddah today.

common sandpiper

And just I saw a common sandpiper near Riyadh last week, I saw a small number here today.


On the rockier part of the coast were plenty of ruddy turnstone which were remarkably tame. They vied with ringed plover as the most common wader.

striated heron

Two bigger water birds were also easily seen. Striated heron and black winged stilt were ubiquitous. 

black winged stilt

I have never seen black winged stilt in the sea before. I have seen them  mostly in deepish salty and not so salty lakes but here they were wading in the red sea itself as well as the inlets.

Something else I noticed and I had not really appreciated before is just how blood red their eyes are. 

house crow

Finally, although I concentrated on water birds the large numbers of pigeon and house crow were jostling with each other for food. Common myna were walking on the water lawns of the resorts. However today my attention was mostly elsewhere.

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