Sunday 23 December 2012

Four birds with one shot

Hunting is not as common in the Riyadh area as further north such as Hail. However on Friday a hunter was seen in the area of the blue lagoons, Al Hayer.

I went there with Mansur Al Fahad to show him this new venue.It was the place that on Thursday I added great snipe and short toed eagle to my Saudi list.

The hunter actually did us a great favour. We only heard two shots. The first one threw eight ducks and four snipe into the air.

Pintail(1), Gadwell (4) and Garganey (3)

With these few birds, Mansur added four lifers(including all the ducks)! and I added two more birds to my Saudi list. The great snipe from the day before was among the snipe that took to the air.

However we followed the ducks rather than the snipe to photograph. It turns out that it was a mixed flock of pintail (in the lead), gadwell (larger) and garganey (smaller). I sent the picture to BirdForum to confirm and there was agreement.

two common snipe

The second shot a few minutes later sent five snipe up. Unfortunately all were common snipe this time.

female Marsh harrier

The wagtails from the day before had moved on from the area. The green sandpiper were still plentiful. There was no short toed eagle to be seen. However the variety of birds of prey was a little larger. There were Marsh harrier, greater spotted eagle and steppe eagle.

An osprey also gave good views.

Following the sighting of pintail and gadwell, my Saudi list total is now up to 249. However the big test will be this weekend when Mansur and I visit Jizan.

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