28 May 2015

Birds of the Tabuk area – Bird records by Viv Wilson

Viv Wilson a birder from Tabuk who goes out almost every weekend and photographs birds has sent me a number of photos recently of what he has been seeing. Most birds are common passage migrants at this time of year and have included good numbers of Barn Swallows and European Bee-eaters. European Bee-eaters have passed through the country in much higher numbers than usual this year, possibly indicating a good breeding season last summer. They have also been seen throughout the Kingdom from the southwest to the northeast. Viv also photographed a Graceful Prinia a species that is a common breeding resident and an Eastern Olivaceous Warbler an uncommon summer breeder. Viv has kindly given me permission to use his photos on my website some of which are shown below.
Barn Swallow
Barn Swallow
Barn Swallow
Barn Swallow
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler
European Bee-eater
European Bee-eater
European Bee-eater
European Bee-eater
Graceful Prinia
Graceful Prinia

27 May 2015

European Hoopoe Tabuk area – Bird records by Viv Wilson

Viv Wilson a birder from Tabuk has sent me a number of photos recently of Eurasian Hoopoe and has kindly allowed me to use them on my website. The species is a widespread common migrant and scarce resident breeder. Passage birds pass from February to mid-Aril and September to October. Birds of the Riyadh Region (Stagg 1994) states it is a common passage migrant and localised breeding resident, passing from early February to late March with stragglers continuing into April. The return passage commences in early August and continues to late October with a peak in September. Since 1987 an increasing number of birds have become resident the year round in farmland areas and the same is true for the Eastern Province. Good numbers are even seen in the Empty Quarter where I saw ten on 4 October 2012 near Shaybah. Breeding birds are most often seen in the southwest in the Asir and Hejaz but birds also breed in Dhahran in the Eastern Province.
Eurasian Hoopoe

Eurasian Hoopoe

Eurasian Hoopoe

Eurasian Hoopoe

26 May 2015

Bridled Tern ringing recovery from Saudi Arabia

Palak Thakor from Surat in Gujarat State, India found a ringed Bridled Tern that was totally dehydrated and was not able to fly. It was seen in the late evening of 7 September 2011 and brought to Palak on 8 September 2011. It was fed with small fishes and by evening it was ready to fly so was taken to Hazira beach area and released. This information was passed onto me by Dr. Raju Kasambe of the Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai, India as he knew I ringed with NCWCD rings. I contacted Abdullah H Alsuhaibany, who together with Peter Symens ringed terns in the Arabian Gulf in the 1990’s and he mentioned he ringed more than 50,000 terns between 1991 and 1996 (mostly Lesser Crested, a few Bridled & White-checked and very few Swift) with NCWCD rings. Most of the ringing was on Karan Island, with very few birds ringed on Kurayen, Jana and Jurayed. The exact data for this bird had been lost as the database/server on which the information was kept has been damaged and is unrepairable. Abdullah did say that he was involved with Peter Symens in all tern ringing in the Arabian Gulf offshore islands, every year between 1991 – 1996, and they ringed about 200 Bridled chicks (with very few adults) and the ring number mentioned suggests it was ringed in summer 1993 or 1994.    

Bridled Tern
Ring Number:
E001886 NCWCD, RIYADH.
Ringing date: Summer 1993 or 1994
Ringing Place: Gulf Coral Islands probably Karan Island
(Co-ords: 27°44’N, 49°50’E)
Age: Pullus
Ringer: Abdullah H Alsuhaibany & Peter Symens
Finding date: 7-Sep-2011
Finding Place: Gabheni, Surat, Gujarat, India (Co-ords:
21.0850615N, 72.8269848E)
Finding Condition: Bird found exhausted, rehabilitated and released
Duration: 17 years & 2 months or 18 years and two months
Distance: 2430 Kilometres
Direction: 106 deg (ESE)
Finder:
Palak Thakor

Bridled Tern ringing recovery route
Bridled Tern ringing recovery route
Bridled Tern
Bridled Tern
Bridled Tern
Bridled Tern

25 May 2015

Falconry in the Saudi Arabian desert – Records by Phil Roberts

On Phil’s latest camping trip to the desert he went with a number of locals who had a falcon with them and was told that it was a Saker. The falcon was flown to give it exercise and Phil took a couple of photos of it whilst it was in action. Phil mentioned that as the bird was flying straight towards him taking the photos was slightly easier than normal. Falconry was once the pastime of the rich in Saudi Arabia but now many local people own falcons with the hunting season from October to March ad most falcons being either Saker or Peregrine both of which command a high price when bought or sold.


24 May 2015

Abnormally plumaged Dove – Bird records by Ragu Shanbhogue

Ragu went birding near to Buraydah recently and found an odd looking Dove. The bird appears to be an abnormally plumaged Laughing Dove, although the trouble is knowing what abnormality has caused the colour change is dificult to prove. In leucistic birds, affected plumage lacks melanin pigment due to the cells responsible for melanin production being absent. This results in a white feathers, unless the normal plumage colour also comprises carotenoids (e.g. yellows), which remain unaffected by the condition. Although leucism is inherited, the extent and positioning of the white colouration can vary between adults and their young, and can also skip generations if leucistic genes are recessive. The reduction of pigment in leucistic birds causes feathers to weaken and be more prone to wear. In some situations this can hinder flight, which, in addition to leucistic birds usually being more conspicuous, can heighten risk of predation. There is also evidence that leucistic birds might, on occasion, not be recognised or accepted by a potential mate. Leucism is being used as an umbrella term to encompass a number of plumage irregularities that can be difficult to distinguish from each other. One of these is called ‘progressive greying’, which also results in white feathers. While leucism is heritable, progressive greying is not – but without knowing the history of a bird, these two conditions are difficult to tell apart. ‘Dilution’ is another condition where plumage colour often appears ‘washed out’ (i.e. ‘diluted’). In dilution, melanin cells are present (unlike in leucistic birds) but produce less pigment than normal. White feathers can also be caused by chromatophore (pigment cell) defects, rather than an absence of melanin-producing cells. The information on plumage aberrations is taken from the BTO website.