25 May 2016

Black-crowned Night Heron near Tabuk – Bird records by Viv Wilson

Viv has taken some photographs of Black-crowned Night Heron from the main wetland near Tabuk that he has sent to me and kindly allowed me to use. Black-crowned Night Heron is an uncommon migrant to most areas of Saudi Arabia but in the Riyadh area is a common spring and autumn passage migrant passing early February to early June and again from late July to early November and rarely as late as December with birds now regularly breeding in the area. In the Eastern Province it is an uncommon migrant noted more often in autumn than spring. Juveniles occur from September through November and sometimes into February. Spring occurrences are irregular from April to May. They are uncommon in the Tabuk area in the northwest of the country although appear to be coming more common.
Black-crowned Night Heron

Black-crowned Night Heron

Black-crowned Night Heron

Black-crowned Night Heron

Black-crowned Night Heron

24 May 2016

Mediterranean Blue Butterfly near Riyadh – Record by Mansur Al Fahad

Mansur Al Fahad took a few macro photographs of some Mediterranean Blue Butterflies at Heet village south of Riyadh in early May. Identification was confirmed by looking at the uppersides of the butterflies. The area has some farms and semi-desert land and these butterflies are plentiful this year, as the good rains have helped the emergence of good vegetarian cover. I thank Mansur for sending me the details, identification and permission to use them on my website.


23 May 2016

White-crowned Wheatear – Shedgum Escarpment

White-crowned Wheatear Oenanthe leucopyga is a locally common breeding resident in dry rocky areas that occurs Kingdom wide from the Hejaz north from Taif, Northern Hejaz, Asir south of Soudah and Najran, Tuwaiq escarpment and locally in the Eastern Province along the Shedgum Escarpment. At Shedgum Escarpment it is a locally uncommon breeding resident with birds often seen at the base of the escarpment where they favour scree slopes with sparse vegetation. Occasionally birds can be seen elsewhere in the Eastern Province on rocky areas with one seen in Dhahran Hills in 2004. As the Shedgum Escarpment is the closest place to where I live to see the species I went there recently to see if I could see and photograph any. Photographing the species is not very easy as the dark plumage makes it difficult but I did manage a couple of reasonable photos, but certainly not good. I saw about four birds in total in the stony area at the base of the escarpment with some birds flying up to the top of the escarpment and back down feeding all the time.
White-crowned Wheatear

22 May 2016

Dark Grass Blue Butterfly near Riyadh – Record by Mansur Al Fahad

Mansur Al Fahad took a few macro photographs of some Dark Grass Blue Zizeeria karsandra. They were photographed at Heet village south of Riyadh in May. The area has some farms and semi-desert land and these butterflies are plentiful this year, as the good rains have helped the emergence of good vegetarian cover. Dark Grass Blue is a small butterfly found in the Southern Mediterranean, in a broad band to India, Sri Lanka, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, New Guinea and northern and eastern Australia. It belongs to the Lycaenids or Blues family. As the common name suggests, this species is found in open grassy habitats but can occur anywhere where grasses occur such as the area where Mansur photographed it. I thank Mansur for sending me the details, identification and permission to use them on my website.
Dark Grass Blue

Dark Grass Blue

21 May 2016

Sinai Rosefinch near Tabuk – Bird records by Viv Wilson

Viv Wilson a birder from Tabuk in the north west of Saudi Arabia sent me a few of his photographs of Sinai Rosefinch and has given me permission to use them on my website. This species has its entire Saudi Arabian range restricted to the north-west of the country. The birds seen in north-west Saudi Arabia are nominate synoicus who’s range is Sinai, north-west Arabia, Israel, and Jordan. They are small with the upper-part ground colour and sides of body rather dark drab-grey, with the pink and red of adult males being extensive, reaching the tips of both the upper and under tail-coverts. The birds are almost always associated with rocky jebals and cliffs and are often heard calling loudly to each other. They are not easy to photograph so Viv has done well with this pictures.