Monday 21 October 2013

Chukar and more on Jebel Lawz

On Thursday, Lou Regenmorter and I decided to visit Haql on the first day of our two and a half day trip to north west Saudi Arabia. This is itself a long day trip out of Tabuk where we were based to the last Saudi town before Aqaba in Jordan.

On the way out we made one major stop at Jebel Lawz. I had been there twice before at different times of year and seen very interesting birds.

Jebel Lawz is actually the name of a mountain range with seven peaks. Its the only place in Saudi Arabia with chukar. And this time for the first time we saw them. Chukar became the 307th bird on my Saudi list.

chukar climbing hillside

A group were behind the one small settlement at 1850 metres just off the only paved road into the mountains. Once they noticed me they stealthily walked up the hill side.

chukar looking down

Then they stayed at the top of the hillside looking down for several minutes before carefully heading down again.

All this was seen just before we were going to leave the area unfulfilled.

Before then the main highlight of the birding there had been following a female hooded wheatear as she flitted about.

female hooded wheatear

This is the first time I have had prolonged views of a female and only the second time I have seen any in Saudi Arabia.

closer look at hooded wheatear

Though birds were scarce, the quality was good. This is not surprising for such an unusual terrain.

Scrub warbler were easily seen when we first parked up.

scrub warbler

Tristram's starling was more accessible than my last visit and give much closer views.

Tristram's starling

The only migrants seen were three tree pipit.

Tree pipit

By far the most common birds on the way up the mountain (and indeed) along much of the route to Haql) were desert lark and white-crowned wheatear. These two were photographed on Jebel Lawz.

desert lark

Immature white-crowned wheatear don't have white-crown.

white-crowned wheatear

This was a good start to what turned out to be excellent trip.

No comments:

Post a Comment