Monday 23 December 2013

Two parks in Jubail

Having finished at Sebkhet al Fasl in the early afternoon, Bernard Bracken and I moved on to the two parks in northern Jubail. One is called Deffi Park and the other Andalous Park. They are right next to each other and create a large green footprint on the area.

Deffi Park seems to be undergoing some sort of landscaping work at the moment so most of our time was spent in Andalous Park.

One of the first sights on our arrival looked a bit strange. There were three whimbrel nonchalantly walking on an area of lawn.

two whimbrel

The parks are only about 2 kilometres inland so shore birds can always be potential visitors.

three whimbrel

Something else that looked a bit strange to me were the white-eared bulbul.  

white eared bulbul

There were at least two obvious differences between these birds and the ones seen in the Riyadh area.  They look like the naturally occurring sub species Mesopotamia found in Iraq and Kuwait.  This sub species has much yellower eyes and a bigger ear patch.

Whereas the ones in Riyadh, Tabuk, Wadi Dawasir, Sakaka and other areas in central and central western Saudi Arabia look like the Indian sub species leucotis. The bird is believed to have been introduced in these places.

What I am saying about the sub species is contrary to what several databases say on the internet but I am confident I am right! I don't believe the introduced birds are Mesopotamia

Common myna is another bird which has escaped or been introduced into parts of Saudi Arabia. The parks in Jubail had them too.

common myna

The birds on the grassy areas included house sparrow but also two other species in large numbers.

white wagtail

White wagtail were very common. When I visited Deffi Park last winter I saw many water pipit on the grass. They were there again this time.

water pipit

They were more than 250 metres from the nearest water!

a single water pipit

Deffi Park has a reputation for being a good place to find rare finches and thrushes escaping the northern winter though I have never seen a chaffinch, bramling, linnet, robin or blackbird there. And I tried really hard to find one.

song thrush

We did however find a song thrush. This is the first one I have seen in eastern province though I keep seeing them down the west side of the country.

Daurian shrike

As at Sebkhet Al Fasl there were wintering Daurian shrike in the parks. This bird was easy to identify. The total lack of contrast between undersides and upper parts, and an almost lack of a supercilium makes it a Daurian shrike rather than a Turkestan shrike.


A hoopoe put on a display for us.

intermediate morph western reef heron

There was some water at Andalous Park which went round the boundary of the park. There was not a water pipit to be seen there. However we saw several western reef heron including representatives of all three morphs: intermediate, dark and pale. 

pale morph western reef heron

All in all the parks were interesting and always worth a visit if you are in the Jubail area. Next time though I do wonder if the strips of parkland on the near-by corniche would be worth a visit too. Perhaps the northern finches and thrushes are better found there?

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