Wednesday 19 March 2014

Further up the wadi, Muhayil

On Saturday, I decided to walk out of the hotel  and bird while in Muhayil in South West Saudi Arabia. However this time I chose to walk much further north and up the main town wadi. I walked more than 3 kilometres further north than on previous visits. 

For the most part, the birding was very enjoyable except when I nearly got ravaged by a pack of stray dogs which was very frightening and also when the temperatures got too hot after midday.

Dusky turtle dove with a Ruepell's weaver

Like in the more central parts of the wadi, there were hundreds of doves, mostly African collared dove and laughing dove as well as a few feral pigeons. The big surprise was the sighting of  three dusky turtle dove. This is normally found above 1000 metres but the main guide does say some move lower in winter. This location was at 650 metres.

African collared dove

The Nile Valley sunbird seen elsewhere in the wadi were supplemented by shining sunbird here.


I decided to spend considerable time within the thickets looking for my main nemesis bird: black crowned tchagra.Once again I failed to see this elusive species. Instead I discovered that the more shaded thickets contained warblers I had failed to see any where else on the trip. 

There were a few chiffchaff.


However the most common warbler was lesser whitethroat. A single female blackcap was also seen with one small lesser whitethroat group.

Lesser whitethroat

Other western palearctic birds were present too. A female Siberian stonechat was found in an small arable field.

Siberian stonechat

Later on, three passage tawny pipit were observed on scrubby land.

Tawny pipit

No less than five masked shrike were seen along with one Daurian shrike.

Daurian shrike

Once again the wadi held both white wagtail and grey wagtail. The latter is more surprising as I didn't see any running water.

grey wagtail

As said  in a previous blog, little green bee-eater isn't very common.

little green bee-eater

In the air, the two birds of prey this time were long legged buzzard and yellow billed kite.

long legged buzzard

Also in the air were many little swift which are probably resident as well as a few passage red-rumped swallow and alpine swift (which are either summer visitors or resident).

lizard in Wadi Muhayil

I feel I am only scratching the surface at finding good birding places in the Muhayil area. I will keep widening my search every time I visit.


  1. Dusky turtle dove looks like a really looker of a bird, excellent photos. Don't think there is much more scary than nearly being savaged by wild dogs, brave chap facing that!

  2. Ashley, dusky turtle dove took so long for me to find now I see it everywhere in the south west. As for the wild dogs, the situation was really dangerous.