Sunday 25 August 2013

New birds from Tabuk

Fellow birder, Viv Wilson has just released a new set of photos of birds taken at Tabuk over the last weekend.

He must have had a fantastic time up there given the range of birds he saw. Two of them have not yet made my own (now quite large) Saudi list. 

He has given me permission to show the pictures of these birds which I have slightly cropped, hopefully without affecting his quality.

The bird that most excited me was a water rail seen at the waste water lakes. Given Tabuk's position in the north west of Saudi Arabia water rail may be resident though wintering is at least as likely. Either way I have a chance of seeing it when I visit Tabuk next.

water rail (all pictures in this blog by Viv Wilson)

This sighting is important and congratulations to Viv. It would be good now to get all year round data to finally work out if it is resident as a few sources including the main regional guide say.  

 water rail drinking

The second bird was an Egyptian nightjar almost certainly on passage. Although I have seen European nightjar and Nubian nightjar, this species has alluded me.

 resting Egyptian nightjar

Viv posted a European nightjar from nearly the same place in late spring. Nubian nightjar is easily ruled out in this case by the lack of white bars on the outer underwings.

Egyptian nightjar in flight

I wouldn't rule out Nubian nightjar being seen in this area in the future though. It breeds further north in Israel but also much closer than previously thought in the south having been seen in the Thuwal area recently. 

 Egyptain nightjar landing

Viv's other sightings over the weekend included many waders and both blue cheeked bee-eater and European bee-eater.

 European roller

European roller was another good bird.

white tailed lapwing

Both white tailed lapwing and spur winged lapwing were also observed. We need to look closely at his photos as there is possibly another plover/lapwing among them!

A big thanks to Viv for sharing his information and pictures. He is certainly putting Tabuk on the birding map. 

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