Friday 27 April 2012

Message from Hofuf

I am writing this from Hofuf. It's a farming community 300 kilometres east of  Riyadh and accessible by train from there.

It's also near an IBA (Important Bird Area) though I wonder how many birders have actually been to the IBA since it was designated many years ago. For example neither of the two main historical recorders visited it. One tried to find it but failed! 

Being a teacher of English has some advantages. I often got around Libya thanks to my students and it's happening in Saudi Arabia too. Thanks to Ahmed from Hofuf, I visited the IBA today. It's based on a very large lake and can only be reached off-road using local knowledge. 

number one little bittern

The lake is the centrepiece of the IBA but it is surrounded by marsh land and bushland.

a view of part of the lake

When I arrived the first thing I noticed was just how many little bittern there were and how noisy it was near the reeds. I will write about the noise more in the next blog.

a second little bittern

Meanwhile I can report that I have seen 5 new additions to my Saudi list so far and managed to photograph them all. I will share them on the blog.

I have also added one lifer which also happens to be the bird responsible for the noise. 

a third little bittern

I'm going to visit the IBA again tomorrow for a half day. I will look at a different part of the lake. I wonder what it will bring?


  1. How beautiful! One would never guess that there would be a place like this in Saudi when the only thing that comes to mind is a vast barren desert.

  2. Khadija, it is a beautiful place if you avoid a couple of places with mosquitoes!

    Saudi Arabia dosen't have too many places like this outside the south west of the country. Apparently the Hofuf lake is there because its the lowest point in the whole region and it also gets fed by the run off from the palm plantations. Rob

  3. Looks like a great site. I wish we had a bit more still water like that here in Sudan. By the way, IBA stands for Important Bird Area.
    All the best


  4. Tom,

    Good to see you here again. I changed the IBA mistake.