Thursday 31 October 2013

The coast inside Yanbu city

Brian James and I finished our tour of the Yanbu area last Saturday afternoon with a journey down the coast within Yanbu city heading southward. 

The density of sea birds here was much higher than the area north of the city which had spend several hours observing. Indeed we saw every sea bird in Yanbu that we had seen over many kilometres of coast line further north with the exception of a single common tern.

So in future I would drop the trip to the north of the city and concentrate on the city coast and further south.

There are mangroves on the southern trip and within the city which adds to its attraction. Furthermore on part of the route there is a grassed and bushy southern corniche which acts as a magnet for land birds.

It's shame we had little time to do it justice.


This blog concentrates on the extra species seen within the city not seen on the northern coast up to the cement works.

Flamingo was a good start.

crab plover

Crab plover and ruddy turnstone were also seen in the city bit not north of it.

European spoonbill

Three European spoonbill were also present near an area with a large number (over 10) of grey heron.

Caspian gull

Again the main gulls were slender-billed gull, sooty gull and a few Caspian gull.

Steppe gull

Here though we also observed three steppe gull with their deep yellow legs and bills but darker mantle than yellow legged gull

close up of the face of a steppe gull

One was also seen here last spring on our previous visit. This species is not shown on the regional guides distribution map for the Red Sea coast. Please also note that many steppe gull that Saudi Arabia gets in winter do not have the more typical dark eye.

house crow

The grassed south corniche was slowly driven past rather than thoroughly birded because of time constraints. Even by driving past, we could see, it was teeming with birds from doves to house crow as well as warblers, shrikes and common redstart in the bushes.  

House crow now seems to have colonised the whole eastern red sea coast all the way from Jizan in the south west to Haql on the Jordanian border.

female blackcap

We didn't get a chance to look at warblers on the corniche but we had seen some bushes on the outskirts of the city before the main trip down the coast. 

Here we saw the phenomenon of large numbers of blackcap travelling as a flock. I had first observed this in spring in the Riyadh area where one tree had 21 blackcap and there were 35 altogether in the small wadi.

Likewise at Yanbu where four bushes close to each other which housed at least 7 or 8 blackcap each.  

blackcaps in a bush

Overall the trip to Yanbu was a success. We saw over 100 species over the weekend but with some adjustments to the routes in the hills and along the coast, we could make it even better next time.

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