24 Apr 2018

Beema Yellow Wagtail - Deffi Park

The Yellow Wagtail is a common passage migrant through the whole of Arabia with many thousands passing through the Eastern Province alone. A number of different subspecies occur, often together with Jubail being a particularly good area for seeing large groups. The first subspecies to occur are Black-headed Wagtails feldegg and these are then followed normally by beema. This year has been no different with the first Black-headed Wagtails occurring in February and the first beema in March. Numbers should now increase through April with more and more birds and subspecies occurring. Yellow Wagtails are quite confiding but trying to get really good photos is challenging as they are fast moving and you have to get the light in the correct position as well as try to get some catch-light in their eyes otherwise their dark eyes look ‘dead’. If you can manage this, then they make great subjects as they are very beautifully plumaged birds.
beema Yellow Wagtail

beema Yellow Wagtail

beema Yellow Wagtail

beema Yellow Wagtail

beema Yellow Wagtail

beema Yellow Wagtail


22 Apr 2018

Arta – Jubail


Whilst birding the Jubail area recently I came across an Arta Calligonum comosum. Thius plant is a virtually leafless perennial shrub up to 2.5m tall, stem much branched from thick woody rootstock. Main stems dark and rough often with peeling bark, older branches white with swollen nodes, less rough but angular and fragile and often dropping. Twigs slender, dark green looks from a distance like long trailing hairs. Leaves if present are minute, 3-5mm long, falling off quickly. Flowers are many, five white sepals with greenish central stripe, no petals, with bright red anthers, on short stalks from leaf nodes, sometimes clustered. Flowers from December to April. Fruit is showy, bristly nut covered with rusty red or white furry hairs, becoming dirty yellow in maturity. It prefers sand plains, dunes and roadsides where it is common and widespread. This species is an excellent desert sand binder, cultivated and used for windbreaks around desert plantations; used as firewood, as it burns smokelessly; dried leaves and stems are chewed to treat toothache, young shoots collected as salad greens or powdered to add to milk as a tonic or flavouring, fruits are edible.
Arta

Arta

Arta

Arta

Arta



20 Apr 2018

Wheatears and late winter visitors - Jubail


Birding the Jubail area continued turning up migrants and winter visitors with plenty of Great Cormorants staying in the area later this year than previously. They used to be seen rarely in the area but have now started winter in large numbers. Wheatears have been common with Pied Wheatears the commonest although a few Eastern Black-eared Wheatears of both forms seen. Waders are passing through with good numbers of both Little Ringed and Common Ringed Plovers, as well as the occasional Temminck’s Stint and Greater Sand Plover. Small numbers of both Common Swift and Pallid Swift have been passing through along with Barn Swallow and Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters. Many full breeding plumage Squacco Herons are around and several small flocks of various subspecies of Yellow Wagtails have been located with one supercilliaris amongst them.
Eastern Black-eared Wheatear
Eastern Black-eared Wheatear
Caspian Tern
Caspian Tern
Eurasian Hoopoe
Eurasian Hoopoe
Great Cormorant
Great Cormorant
Great Cormorant
Great Cormorant
Little Ringed Plover
Little Ringed Plover
Little Ringed Plover
Little Ringed Plover
Pallid Swift
Pallid Swift
Pied Wheatear
Pied Wheatear
Pied Wheatear
Pied Wheatear
Squacco Heron
Squacco Heron
Temminck's Stint
Temminck's Stint 
Yellow Wagtail - supercilliaris
Yellow Wagtail - supercilliaris
  

18 Apr 2018

Red-veined Dropwing – Raydah Escarpment

One of Africa’s most common and widely distributed dragonflies, the male red-veined dropwing Trithemis arteriosa has a slender red abdomen and is named after the bright red veins running across its wings. It can also be found and across southern Europe and parts of the Middle East  including Saudi Arabia. The female and immature red-veined dropwing, have a yellowish-russet abdomen with a pale streak between the wings. As with other dropwing species, the wings are held downwards and forwards when at rest. Both the male and female red-veined dropwing have orange flecks at the base of the wings and large crimson eyes. The distinctive lower mouthparts are yellow with a central bronze stripe. Black splashes run along the sides of the abdomen, increasing in size up to the tip, which is entirely black. The flight period for adult red-veined dropwings is throughout the year, although they are more commonly seen during the summer months. Perching is thought to help the red-veined dropwing locate and catch prey and allows the male red-veined dropwing to lookout for female mates and intruders.
Red-veined Dropwing

16 Apr 2018

Steppe Buzzard - Jubail

Whilst birding the Jubail area recently I came across a single Steppe Buzzard Buteo Buteo vulpinus. This is the first time I have seen the species in the area so was very pleased with the sighting. Steppe Buzzard is an uncommon passage migrant and winter visitor that pass in March and April and again in September and October, merging with the occasional and sparse winter visitors which may appear in any or all months between the autumn and spring movements. 
Steppe Buzzard

Steppe Buzzard

Steppe Buzzard

Steppe Buzzard

Steppe Buzzard