Wednesday 18 December 2013

A lunchtime visit to the Diplomatic Quarter

Following word of a possible spotting of a pied kingfisher in the Diplomatic Quarter (DQ) earlier in the week, Lou Regenmorter and I took the first opportunity to go there to look for it. In my case this meant snatching half an hour from my lunch break at work today.

Things were necessarily hurried as I headed to the small stream at the north side of the Quarter. 

Unfortunately there was no pied kingfisher to be seen though Lou came across a white-throated kingfisher.

male hypocolius

Nevertheless there were some quite special birds there. Fifty or so hypocolius were flocking at the end of the stream in scenes very similar to those I observed last winter. Indeed I now believe this is the best place in Riyadh (and possibly anywhere!) to guarantee a sighting of hypocolius in winter. 

female hypocolius

The best sighting however was not the hypocolius but bank myna. I have only seen singles in Saudi Arabia and none for over a year. Here there were six.

Four bank myna and a common myna

Conveniently a common myna has made it into the bottom of the picture so an easy comparison between the two birds can be made.  There were actually more common myna around than bank myna and the latter could easily have been missed.

a bank myna takes flight

For such small stretch of water and for such a short observation time, the heron family made good representation. There were grey heron, little egret, two first winter black crowned night heron and a little bittern

grey heron

The little egret was not happy with the presence of the black crowned night heron and a couple of chases ensued.

little egret

The only wader seen was green sandpiper which I regularly see there. 

green sandpiper

There was no time for a comprehensive look but I will visit again for a more leisurely look soon.

white eared bulbul

In the meantime, I have planned another long day trip to Jubail on the east coast for Friday.

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