Tuesday 25 December 2012

A very lucky grasshopper warbler

Over the weekend, Mansur Al Fahad told me the story about how he met up with a grasshopper warbler in Saudi Arabia.

He was visiting his family home in Zulfi on April 19th when he saw a bird unable to fly in the garden. It was exhausted.

Grasshopper warbler in the hand

He picked it up and was able to easily identify it as a grasshopper warbler.

It was also one very lucky grasshopper warbler who chose the garden of one of the very few people in the kingdom who knew what it was and could do something about its condition. After giving it water, rest and shelter, the bird eventually flew off north.

My Helms guide to  "Birds of the Middle East" doesn't show grasshopper warbler this far inland on passage (Zulfi is a farming area 200 kilometres NW of Riyadh). This is too little data to challenge the book's view that they migrate by taking coastal routes north but I will be on the look out for more in central Arabia in the passage seasons. 

The problem is that their skulking behaviour makes finding them so difficult any and everywhere.

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