Saturday 13 April 2013

Goliath heron south of Al Birk

I have previously reported about the upland stage of Brian James's 10 day trip to the south west. Brian has now sent me pictures of a coastal part of the trip and I am posting them today.

Goliath heron

These pictures come from the area south of Al Birk on the Red Sea coast. The highlight was a sighting of a Goliath heron. The bird is so large I can't tell what the other bird in the picture is because it looks so relatively small.

Al Birk is one of three places along the coast where Goliath heron has been reported with any frequency. The other two are the IBA (Important Bird Area) at Yanbu and on the Farasan Islands and near-by main land coast around Jizan.

What is so strange is that they are so far apart. It's 750 kilometres from Jizan to Yanbu and Al Birk is 250 kilometres from Jizan too. Is the population really that fragmented or is it that these are places where views are more accessible?

Brown booby

To make sure your Saudi list is one of the larger ones, you have to go to the south west. It's here that many Afro-tropical and other tropical species can be found. Brown booby becomes progressively more common the further south down the Red Sea coast that you travel. Al Birk is a good place to see it because of the open views.

Eurasian spoonbill

Eurasian spoonbill breeds at many places down the coast whereas African spoonbill is also a possibility in the far south west especially in summer.

Slender billed gull

Brian who is based out of Thuwal, north of Jeddah, added 20 species to his Saudi list on the trip. He is now close to having the largest Saudi list of all time (or at least as far as I can find). 

You can find his list at or you can click on the link on the right hand column of this blogsite.

Wood sandpiper

I hope to show more from Brian's trip in later blogs. I thank him once again for these photos and permission to use post them.

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