Monday 7 July 2014

Azizah after nine

Bernard Bracken and I continued downstream of the valley in Azizah until just past 9 a.m on Friday. It suddenly became lusher. We presumed that was because there is water extracted in the area around the village but not further downstream.

We rested for a while in this lusher area and watched. We were rewarded by the sighting some distance away of an African paradise flycatcher.

African paradise flycatcher

After resting, we decided the descent downstream was too difficult and elected to walk back upstream with the idea to go past our original dropping off point and to investigate the higher reaches of the valley.

Yemen thrush

On the way back we saw many of the same birds as on the way out. We got better looks at Yemen thrush which incidentally is not a timid bird.

Yemen linnet

I obtained this photo of a male Yemen linnet when we passed through the "linnet zone".


Hoopoe is a very common bird in all the wadis near Abha that I have visited. Azizah is no exception.

Tristram's starling

As we went through the village area, Tristram's starling was its usual noisy self.

Crested lark

We saw very few larks all day and they were all crested lark. I had hoped to see Blandford's lark but this bird again escaped me. It is now on my nemesis bird list. That is to say I have spent so much time looking for it, I should have got it by now.

Abyssinian white eye

I finally managed a picture of an Abyssinian white eye which never keeps still.

As we headed upstream from the village past our drop off point, there were signs that the valley was becoming wetter. We had gone past the area where the villagers extract water. Soon we saw the start of a permanent stream.

The weather was also becoming over-cast as it does every day in the Abha area during the summer months. The cloudy sky resulted in the red-rumped swallow, little swift and pale crag martin that had been hawking the skies coming much lower.   

Red rumped swallow

As we headed further upstream, the water became more significant. We saw our first green sandpiper and hamerkop of the day. Both birds need wetland, pools or streams.


We would have liked to have investigated this area more fully but the rain came down and wouldn't stop. Indeed it turned to hail at one point! We got so soaked we were shivering. This was in July in Saudi Arabia and when it was 46 C in Riyadh at the same moment.

We essentially had to abandon our birding an hour early.

yellow spotted agama

As is often the case, we spotted other interesting wildlife on this birding trip. Arguably the most interesting was this male yellow spotted agama.

The 35 species seen at Azizah

Arabian babbler
Green sandpiper
Gambaga flycatcher
Feral pigeon
Little rock thrush
Dusky turtle dove
African stonechat
Laughing dove
Arabian wheatear
Bruce’s green pigeon
Red breasted wheatear
Little swift
Yemen thrush
Eurasian hoopoe
Violet backed starling
Eurasian kestrel
Tristram’s starling
African paradise flycatcher
Palestine sunbird
Crested lark
Long billed pipit
Pale crag martin
Cinnamon breasted bunting
Red rumped swallow
Striolated bunting
White spectacled bulbul
Yemen linnet
Brown woodland warbler
House sparrow
Graceful prinia
Rueppell’s weaver
Arabian warbler
African silverbill
Abyssinian white eye

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