Wednesday 4 September 2013

A lifer and much more on the University farm

The walks from work yesterday afternoon and in both directions today have provided some really exciting birding based almost exclusively on passage birds.

Egyptian nightjar

The biggest highlight was this evening when I saw my first ever Egyptian nightjar lying in the shade of a clump of bushes in the small experimental university farm. 

It is also the 298th bird on my Saudi list and the first addition since returning from the summer break.

The birding had already been very good before this point.

Isabelline wheatear

An Isabelline wheatear has been hanging around the farm's gardens all through the past 36 hours and has been very approachable. 

Thrush nightingale

The thrush nightingale has now been present for five days and is slowly giving better views from within the deep shade.  

common whitethroat

At dusk and at dawn the common whitethroat behave sparrow-like and hop around the lawns. For the rest of the day they are still hard to see in the bushes and trees.

woodchat shrike

That one immature woodchat shrike who came with the wave of all the other immature shrikes of different types two weeks ago is still here.

sand martin

The pool area has contributed considerably to my enjoyment over the past 36 hours. Barn swallow, pale crag martin, sand martin and a single house martin have all been seen hawking for insects over the water during that time. 

sand martin stretching

A very helpful, resting sand martin allowed me close contact to take some good photos as well as prolonged views.

pale rock sparrow

In among the many house sparrow that visit the pool for drinks was a passage or wintering pale rock sparrow.

little ringed plover

Three little ringed plover were present this evening and I am hopeful of more waders provided the water level is maintained.

grey wagtail

Just before dusk tonight, wagtails turned up out of nowhere. There was one grey wagtail and four yellow wagtail.

yellow wagtail

I don't normally stay until dusk but I had phoned Lou Regenmorter to tell him I had seen an Egyptian nightjar. He immediately decided to finish work for the day and come over. By the time he arrived I had misplaced the nightjar. 

All credit to him, 70 minutes later he found it again! And he had never seen a thrush nightingale before either. It leaves me wondering, how many successful twitches have even taken place in Riyadh before today?


  1. Good variety , I should visit the farm

  2. Mansur, good to hear from you. The thrush nightingale was still there this morning. I didn't look for the nightjar. Rob

  3. Wonderfull shot birds , congratulations, greeting from Belgium