23 Aug 2017

Desert Hedgehog in Dhahran – Record by Phil Roberts

Whilst in Dhahran main camp Phil Roberts found a Desert Hedgehog in his garden where he took the below photo that he has kindly allowed me to use on my website. The Desert Hedgehog is a species found in northern Africa, from Morocco & Mauritania in the west to Egypt in the east as well as the Middle East including Israel, Jordon, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman & Yemen. A typical hedgehog in appearance the Desert Hedgehog has a dense, spiny coat, an elongated snout and the ability to curl into a defensive ball when threatened. Its most distinctive feature is the contrasting dark muzzel and broad white, spineless band across the face, which extends onto the flanks. The ears are relatively short and rounded and like other members of the genus, there is a naked patch on the forehead. The legs are long and dark and the underside is softly furred and is usually a mixture of black, brown and white while the spines on the back are a light colour with two dark bands. The overall colouration is quite variable, with some individuals almost totally white, and others completely dark. It is one of the smallest of hedgehogs being 14 - 28 cms in length and weighing 285 - 510 grams. As its common name suggests, the Desert Hedgehog inhabits dry deserts, dry steppe and other arid terrain and often favours areas such as oasis and vegetated wadis where food is more readily available. It has also been recorded in gardens, cultivated areas, open woodland and parks like the areas it is found in Dhahran Camp. It is active at night, is solitary and forages on the ground for a range of insect and other invertibrate prey, as well as occasionally small vertibrates and even species such as scorpions, spiders and snakes. They enter hibernation between January & February, when the temperatures are cooler and may also become less active during the hottest months and when food is scarce.
Desert Hedgehog

22 Aug 2017

Ruppell's Warbler at Sharma – Bird record by Euan Ferguson

Euan Ferguson was in Saudi Arabia with a couple of other birdwatchers in spring 2017, conducting an environmental survey and found a male Ruppell's Warbler at Sharma in the far northwest coast of the Red Sea on 19 March 2017. This species is a rare migrant to western regions of the Kingdom with early to mid-March the best time to see it. I thank Euan for sending me the details of this bird and allowing me to use his excellent photo on my website. This is made even better by being the first time I have been able to show a photo of the species on my website.
Ruppell's Warbler

21 Aug 2017

Common Redstart - Jubail

The below photos were taken in the spring in Jubail but I did not post them at the time. Normally birds keep well hidden but this individual was quite happy being out in the open feeding along the side of a track. The Common Redstart is a common passage migrant throughout Saudi Arabia and passes through in March to May and again from early September until late November. Samamisicus are regular and normally pass through one or two weeks earlier than nominate occurring in early March and outnumbering the nominate subspecies during the very start of migration.
Common Redstart

Common Redstart

Common Redstart

Common Redstart

Common Redstart

20 Aug 2017

Anderson’s Rock Agama Raydah Escarpment near Abha – Record by Munzir Khan

Whilst birdwatching in the Abha area, in the mountains of southwest Saudi Arabia, Munzir came across an Anderson’s Rock Agama. This species is endemic to the Arabian Peninsula, where it is found in west and south Arabia, from Taif (Saudi Arabia) in the north to Dhofar (Oman) in the east. It is found to around 2,000 metres above sea level. It is common in Saudi Arabia where it is a rock dwelling lizard mainly present in mountainous areas. I thank Munzir for sending me the photo that he has kindly allowed me to use on my website.
Anderson’s Rock Agama

19 Aug 2017

Spur-winged Lapwing breeding? – Jubail

Whilst biding the Jubail area in early August 2017 I saw two Spur-winged Lapwing again in the same place where they have been present since April. The behaviour of the birds being very vocal and calling in flight as was the case the last time I saw it suggests the bird are breeding. Despite searching for young birds none were found so confirmation of breeding will have to wait a little while longer. The species has not been proved to breed in the Eastern Province yet but hopefully this will change if when we see the young of this pair.
Spur-winged Lapwing