22 Jun 2017

Egyptian Nightjar – Jubail

The Egyptian Nightjar Caprimulgus aegyptius is an uncommon bird in Arabia although since 2006 birds have been located in the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia near Jubail, every year in August with the highest count being fifteen birds together in August 2015 & September 2017. Birds have been seen every year since 2006 in Jubail with the earliest record on the 27 June 2014 until this year when Phi Roberts and I found a bird sitting on the main track under a bush on 16 June. There have been a number of early records this year including in Dhahran in March and at Khafrah Marsh in April. Hopefully, birds will be seen in larger numbers again through August and September as has occurred in previous years.
Egyptian Nightjar

Egyptian Nightjar

Egyptian Nightjar

20 Jun 2017

Collared Pratincoles – Jubail

Whilst birding the Jubail area, I found and photographed three Collared Pratincoles Glareola pratincola along the edge of a flooded area of Sabkha on 2 June 2017. This is quite a late date for the species to be recorded in the Eastern Province of the country. The Collared Pratincole is an uncommon passage migrant to the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, with a similar status in the Riyadh area where they occur from late March to May and in August and September. During the remaining summer months and in October it tends to be scarce and irregular. Records are more common in the autumn than spring in Riyadh with autumn movement from late July to late October, peaking late August to early September, when flocks of 40 plus (mainly juveniles) are regularly encountered. In the southwest, west and northwest of the country records are more common mainly at freshwater inland areas where flocks of over 100 have been recorded at Tabuk.
Collared Pratincole

Collared Pratincole

Collared Pratincole

Collared Pratincole

18 Jun 2017

Breeding Striated Heron in Bahrain – Bird record by Jehad Alammadi

Jehad Alammadi found the first record of breeding Striated Heron for Bahrain when travelling offshore. The bird was nesting between some poles in the seabed. Birds are uncommon in Bahrain a vagrant to the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. Eastern Province records include one remarkable inland record of a bird at Sabkha 40 on 30 May 2010 in the huge desert of the Empty Quarter. This is a species usually associated with the coast of Arabia and had never been recorded this far inland before and was the first record for eastern Saudi Arabia. It would have had to be a migrant, but its position at Shaybah raises the interesting possibility that it had travelled across eastern Arabia from the Arabian Sea en-route to the Arabian Gulf. The only other Eastern Province records, were one in Al Fanateer marina, Jubail on 15 February 2014 and one on 7 June 2015 at Sabkhat Al Fasl, Jubail. The increase in records in recent years may mean that birds are spreading northwards and the breeding record in Bahrain strongly supports this theory.
breeding Striated Heron

breeding Striated Heron

breeding Striated Heron

16 Jun 2017

Little Terns – Jubail

Whilst birding the Jubail area I came across a few Little Terns some of which had well grown young to feed. Some were resting on the muddy edge of some sabkha and other flying around. I took the opportunity to try to get a few flight shots of the birds as they flew about with the best photos shown below. In the Eastern Province the Little Tern is a common passage migrant and summer visitor that is scarce in the winter. Care must be taken not to confuse it with the very similar Saunder’s Tern that also occurs in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia in the summer and breeds on offshore islands. It has bred in freshwater and brackish areas of eastern Saudi Arabia and possibly the Red Sea also. Birds are scarce inland but have been recorded in all areas including Riyadh.
Little Tern

Little Tern

Little Tern

Little Tern

Little Tern

Little Tern

14 Jun 2017

European Roller – Jubail

Whilst birding the Jubail area in late May I came across two European Rollers of which one I was able to photograph and is shown below. Saudi Arabia has three species of roller on the country list. These are Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis a vagrant, Abyssinian Roller Coracias abyssinicus a breeding resident of the southwest region of the Kingdom and European Roller Coracias garrulus a common passage migrant from March to May and again from mid-July to late September when juveniles are also seen along with adults. Birds are regularly seen in the Eastern Province in all areas but are not particularly common in the Jubail area. They are seen almost every year in both spring and autumn in very small numbers at this location but they are always good to see.
European Roller

European Roller