Monday, 24 December 2012

Both ends of Wadi Thulaymah

There is a waste water river at Kharj. It runs through wadi Thulaymah. It's a sort of mini version of Riyadh river that runs through Al HayerIt's still 15 kilometres long though.

Both rivers consist of relatively clean processed water. The end of the river at Kharj produces the lagoons outside Al Safi dairy which were visited last week and where the chestnut bellied sandgrouse were seen.

On Friday morning, Mansur Al Fahad and I returned to the lagoons near AL Safi and then made the journey to the other end of the river near the processing works and where there is a big lake at the head of the river.

citrine wagtail

Even though we visited at the same time there were no sandgrouse.The birds had changed a little in other respects too. Among the white wagtail was another citrine wagtail - not seen here the week before. This was the second sighting in two different places in two days.

Temminck's stint

There were no little stint but in their place were four (three pictured) Temminck's stint.

Wood sandpiper

There were still plenty of black winged stilt and green sandpiper but a wood sandpiper was spotted this week as well.

Squacco heron

I haven't seen any squacco heron all winter at Al Hayer which is very different from last year. However there were three at the lagoons outside Al Safi. One little egret was initially keeping them company.

Grey heron

Grey heron were seen at both ends of the wadi.

Isabelline wheatear

The most common wheatear, once again, was desert wheatear but an Isabelline wheatear was also seen.

Great cormorant

After leaving the lagoons near Al Safi we travelled to the other end of the wadi without really birding the part in between for any length of time.

Here at the start of the river is a very large but hidden holding lake. Last year it was only place in KSA where I had seen tufted duck and pochard.

This time there were no ducks perhaps because the last visit had been at dusk.  However there were four great cormorant and a lot of noise from unseen moorhen.

Little green bee-eater

The little green bee-eater in the near-by Acacia were remarkably tame and allowed very close approach. So I managed better than average pictures of them.

List of birds seen on Friday at Wadi Thulaymah, Kharj and at the blue lagoons, Al Hayer

Rock pigeon
Laughing dove
Collared dove
Cattle egret
Namaqua dove
Grey heron
Squacco heron
Little green bee-eater
Little egret
White eared bulbul
Great cormorant
Crested lark
Pale crag martin
Marsh harrier
Graceful prinia
Long legged buzzard
Common myna
Greater spotted eagle
Black bush robin
Steppe eagle
Isabelline wheatear
Desert wheatear
Black winged stilt
Mourning wheatear
Common snipe
House sparrow
Great snipe
Spanish sparrow
Wood sandpiper
White wagtail
Green sandpiper
Citrine wagtail
Temminck’s stint


  1. Rob Today I got free 3 hours of my work, and I went straight to the Al safi Lake, finally I have achieved my dream and I saw chestnut bellied sandgrouse and got good pictures for it and citrine wagtail that was borne harassment of White Wagtail.alsio I saw steppe buzzard near the river, but unfortunately the lake was empty.

  2. Mansur, looks like we now know exactly what time to visit the lagoons for the sandgrouse! Great news. I think steppe buzzard is much overlooked in central Arabia. Too often we assume it is much more common long legged buzzard that we don't look properly. Well done. Rob