23 Nov 2011

Steppe Eagle - Qaryat Al Ulya Pivot Fields

On our journey north of Dammam last weekend in search of birds of prey we went to Qaryat Al Urya Pivot Fields where we visited a number of very large pivot fields in search of eagles and other species. Many of the pivot fields had just been cultivated and so had very young, short, crops growing on them. Birds were not very numerous but large numbers of Crested Lark and a flock of 45 Eurasian Skylarks were seen, although on separate pivot fields. There were three Northern Wheatear and four Isabelline Wheatear on one of the fields and a 1st year male Pied Wheatear on the desert to the side. Other interesting birds seen were a single European Stonechat, one Tawny Pipit, four Common Kestrels and a Northern Lapwing. Ten White Wagtails where feeding on the muddy edge of a stubble field with a flock of about 100 House Sparrow. The best birds, however, were two first year Steppe Eagles drinking from a puddle at the edge of one of the large pivot fields. One of the birds flew off before we got close but one stayed and allowed some photographs to be taken, although the sun was not in a good position for really good photos. Another Steppe Eagle was seen by the side of a second pivot field but only distant views were obtained of this bird. These pivot fields look like they should hold a good number of birds during the spring migration period and a trip ‘up north’ looks like it should be undertaken in the spring sometime.

 Steppe Eagle (juvenile)
 Steppe Eagle (juvenile)
 Steppe Eagle (juvenile)
 Steppe Eagle (juvenile)
 Steppe Eagle (juvenile)
 Steppe Eagle (juvenile)
 Steppe Eagle (juvenile)
 Eurasian Skylark

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