Monday 16 September 2013

Nubian nightjar in the west

The passage seems to have slowed again in Riyadh. I have little new to report from my walk to work today. Luckily however my friend Brian James who birds out of Thuwal north of Jeddah has just sent in his photo of a Nubian nightjar. This was seen a couple of days ago just outside a building at the golf club there.  

Nubian nightjar at Thuwal (courtesy of Brian James)

Thuwal is a little north of the reported range for this bird except for the populations in Israel which are said to be isolated.  However my hunch is that Nubian nightjar may well be present further north than Thuwal and may even go all the way up the east coast of the Red Sea. The problem may be lack of reporters. Time and more observations will tell.

I am visiting Brian this weekend and looking forward to more west coast birding. It will be the first time I have visited him during an autumn passage.

white spectacled bulbul

Until the weekend my birding will comprise wholly my walk to work. This is still arduous because temperatures remain very high. Indeed they are 2-3C higher than the seasonal norm and no day has been less than 40C this month.

While resident birds such as white spectacled bulbul, crested lark and hoopoe seem to be coping, the migrants are keeping to cover. Many simply don't seem to be here yet or possibly are by-passing the central areas because of the heat. 

crested lark

The passage trio of common whitethroat, spotted flycatcher and wryneck are still around. I had thought the latter bird had moved on but I found it (or another?) deep in the shade this afternoon.


I caught up with yesterday's Upcher's warbler again but only by searching through the shaded trees. This is most unusual because this is a bird of low scrub. Even it is feeling the heat.

Likewise a tree pipit was spending all its time under cover. 

common whitethroat in the shade

The near-by pool is deep with water at the moment and that would explain a visit by two black winged stilt this morning as the only waders. 

Let's hope I am wrong about the weather affecting the passage and see what the rest of the week brings.

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