Friday 10 February 2012

Birds of prey at Al Hayer

Yesterday at Al Hayer, I saw three birds of prey I have been seeing all winter there and one different one. Of course I got the most pleasure out of the new one.

Once again, as you would expect, kestrel was very much in evidence. I find the best place to see them is on a water pivot.


In winter the most common big eagle is greater spotted eagle but steppe eagle is also regularly seen.  The reverse seems to be true in the Kharj farming district farther south of Riyadh. There steppe eagle is more common.

greater spotted eagle seen yesterday

The enormous size of this eagle was made clear to me as it dwarfed two brown necked raven which were on the ground near it.  I can't believe they were trying to mob it but I have seen a group of them have a go earlier in the winter. 

female marsh harrier

In the lagoons area, at least two marsh harrier were plying their trade.

"fox red" steppe buzzard

The surprise for me was the steppe buzzard. It is the first time I have ever seen the fox red morph and it is a beautiful sight. It is so strongly red (not rufous!) I don't I think it is even confusable with rufous long legged buzzard. The latter bird is an uncommon breeder in central Saudi Arabia and which I have only seen at Kharj. 

I suppose A Hayer must be seen as my local patch and yet I have never been there without seeing another new bird or sub species.

And the passage is still to come. 

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