15 Jul 2011

Cream-coloued Courser, Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark & Greater Hoopoe-Lark - Dammam Airport Pools

Ewan Roberts and I went to a new site that neither of us had visited before near to Dammam Airport (King Fahd International Airport). This site was sent to me by Adrian Drummond-Hill and he mentioned it was good for both Greater Hoopoe-Lark and Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark. The site is a large reed bed with open water and sabkha surrounding it. A few small wet areas were at the edge of the reed beds, one of which was very attractive to the birds. We got to the site early in the morning and not much activity was evident although Clamorous Reed Warbler, Reed Warbler and Graceful Prinia were seen in good numbers. Looking at the Sabkha revealed 30 or so Kentish Plover and a Greater Sand Plover. Driving around the reed bed produced little and Adrian had said there was a drivable track through the reeds, but initially we could not locate this. After an almost complete trip around the reed beds we got out and walked along the reed bed edge and saw a few Little Grebes on the exposed water we could see. We then located a single Lesser Short-toed Lark and two Cream-coloured Coursers were seen in flight, which was a bit of a surprise, but we could not locate them again. We went back and found the track through the reeds but the reeds were too tall to see the water. We went back to the area where Adrian had said the Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark could be seen and quickly located a number of male and female birds. We also saw a single nest with downy feathers present showing breeding is taking place at this locality. Then a group of nine Cream-coloured Coursers were seen in flight with two birds landing nearby and the others heading off. Greater Hoopoe-Lark was also seen in the same area making a very enjoyable mornings birding.
Cream-coloured Courser 


 Cream-coloured Courser



 Cream-coloured Courser


Black-crowned Sapprow-Lark (male) 


 Black-crowned Sapprow-Lark (male)


Greater Hoopoe-Lark 


Greater Hoopoe-Lark

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