Sunday 22 December 2013

Jubail in December

On Friday, I went on a very long day trip to Jubail with Bernard Bracken starting out well before dawn. 

The trip was worth it for the variety of birds seen at Sebkhet al Fasl and Deffi park although no new species were added to my Saudi list.

The main reason for that was probably because the water level was very high following recent rains.The vast mud flats normally hold a large numbers of birds of various species. Unfortunately for me these were completely cover in 50 cms or so of water and many of these species have dispersed elsewhere. My chances of seeing my target, common shelduck, went with them.

On the other hand the sheltered bay which has been created is very attractive to flamingo. There were over 500 present.  

flamingo at Jubail

In the water and at the edge were many black winged stilt.  

Black winged stilt

At the edge were tens of little stint, Kentish plover and a few ringed plover.

Little stint

Common redshank were present too.

common redshank

Around the corner from the main bay is another smaller bay with less deep water. There were two or three sand banks in there which houses some interesting species. The terns were gull billed tern and Caspian tern

Caspian tern with Caspian gull

The gulls were mostly Caspian gull with fewer steppe gull and one hueglins gull.

pied avocet

A single avocet was seen next to one of the sandbanks.

slender billed gull

In the more sheletered areas were several slender billed gull.

great cormorant

A few great cormorant were seen flying over-head too.

purple swamphen

As ever, the birds in the fresh water part of the Sebkhet were quite different. Some purple swamphen have been forced into more open areas by the high water line. Meanwhile moorhen were difficult to see as they clamber around more easily in the reeds.

coot and black necked grebe

The coot were swimming at the edges of the reeds but easily seen.

little grebe and black necked grebe

After not seeing any black necked grebe for my first two years in Saudi Arabia, the Sebkhet was the third place in the past two months. Four were seen mixing with the resident little grebe.

Here the terns were whiskered tern and white winged black tern.


Only one duck was seen all day and it was a male teal.

common snipe

Also in the sheltered areas was common snipe and near-by  three green sandpiper. Flying over them were a small number of wintering barn swallow.

white wagtail

The main small passerines were white wagtail and water pipit.

male Daurian shrike

A single Daurian shrike was also seen as was a common starling. Not too many of these make it this far south.

common starling

Six marsh harrier were seen constantly patrolling the area along with two more restful greater spotted eagle.

Greater spotted eagle

After finishing at Sebket Al Fasl, Bernard and I had time to call in at Deffi Park. There was some good birding there.

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