Thursday 7 February 2013

The golf course at KAUST

The golf course on the KAUST is certainly very high quality and without doubt better than the two I have visited in Riyadh. The birding is pretty good too.

I went round it on Friday afternoon searching for birds with Brian James who also happens to have won a couple of staff tournaments there.

Actually we saw a little of it in the twilight the night before as Kentish plover were scurrying around. Brian told me they actually breed at the side of one or two of the larger bunkers.

hoopoe enjoying the worms

However on Friday afternoon the first birds we came across, not counting the doves and common myna around the clubhouse were three hoopoe. Its not often you see worm casts in KSA but there were plenty there and the hoopoe knew it.
cormorant and spur winged lapwing

There are a number of water features. The largest one is a magnet for larger water birds. He headed towards it. However before we got there Brian noticed a wryneck in a palm tree out of the corner of his eye. Unfortunately it moved off before I could photograph it.

At the water feature were a large number of cormorant and several members of the heron family. A squacco heron was walking at the waters edge and so surprisingly was a first winter black crowned night heron.

juvenile black crowned night heron

An adult black crowned night heron was just round the corner before flying off out of view. A single grey heron stayed motionless in the open.

adult black crowned night heron

In stark contrast, a flock of black headed gull circled the lake endlessly seemingly frightened to land.

spur winged lapwing

Moving on round the golf course, we came upon some more spur winged lapwing which seems almost ubiquitous on the KAUST campus.

yellow wagtail

In some of the roughest grass we saw my first yellow wagtail of the trip and my first in KSA since November. Brian told me they are present every month except December and January. Right on cue the first one appeared on February 1st.

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