Tuesday 11 December 2012

The elusive Sinai rosefinch

When Lou Regensmorter and I visited Tabuk last month one of our main target birds was Sinai rosefinch. However, after hours searching for it in what we thought was appropriate terrain we failed. Though, we can't complain about the trip overall since we picked up 10 sociable lapwing and I added a total of 6 species to my Saudi list.

Cropped from a photo by Viv Wilson

Viv Wilson was our host on the second day there last month. Viv is a local birder who hadn't seen a Sinai rosefinch either up to that date.

He got in touch earlier this week to say last week he had seen the bird featured in these two photos in the desert. This was about 25 kilometres west of Tabuk in the foothills of the western mountains. 

Second view of a Sinai rosefinch by Viv Wilson

Since Viv asked me to identify it and I wasn't sure, I posted it on BirdForum. It seems he had indeed found a Sinai rosefinch. This was an immature male who is just starting to show the bright rose-red features he should gain by spring.  My own main guide only shows a mature male and a female. Both look quite different from this!

Sinai rosefinch is scarce wherever it is found by nature of its chosen habitat. However, in countries like Jordan it is known where you can have the best chance to see it. Viv has made a start in us getting to the same position in KSA.

I am grateful to Viv for sharing his information and pictures.

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