2 Nov 2012

Habalah Hanging Village - Habalah


Throughout the Abha region the predominant rocks are basalt, although there are some well known sandstone regions such as Habalah. Habalah was a once inhabited village but the villagers were relocated to King Faisal village in 1980. The official account of why the position was chosen is that a clan of the Qahtan tribe who had fled from the Turks chose this location as a safe haven and refuge. The name Habalah comes from Arabic word "habl" meaning "rope", as this site, which is 150 metres down a vertical sandstone cliff face could only be reached by rope before the cable car station was erected. The cable car is 800 metres long and costs 50 riyals per person, free for young children, for the return trip which takes about five minutes each way. There is also a 30 riyal charge to enter the site with your car, although if you want to save this money you can park at the top by the villas and walk down for about five minutes to the cable car station. The cable car station opens at 10:30 hrs and closes at 19:00 hrs. At the bottom of the cable car ride you can see some of the old buildings of the village and enjoy the views. There are quite a few trees and other plants that are attractive to birds, especially migrants. Birds I saw whilst at the site for a couple of hours included the Arabian endemic Arabian Serin, White-spectacled Bulbul, Blackcap, Abyssinian White-eye, Fan-tailed Raven and Steppe Eagle. On the way back to Abha which is about 60 kilometres away we passed a site that had a rubbish skip and also had a few animal remains on the ground nearby and as a result was attracting more than 150 Brown-necked Ravens and 10 Black Kites. 
White-spectacled Bulbul
Habalah Cable Car
Habalah Hanging Village
Habalah Hanging Village
Habalah Hanging Village
Black Kite - Juvenile
Black Kite - Juvenile
Black Kite - Juvenile
Black Kite - Juvenile
Black Kite - Juvenile
Black Kite - Juvenile
Black Kite - Juvenile

2 comments:

  1. Hi, nice photos. I am entering my bird sightings from 2001, and noticed that I'd left a few birds from al Habalah unidentified. One was a finch with a streaked breast (maybe that was the serin). The other was a warbler, Phylloscopus I think, that was calling "twee-cher, twee-cher," in the trees down on the cliff-dwelling site. This was on May 11, 2001. Any idea what Phylloscopus warblers are expected there at that time?--garybletsch@yahoo.com

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  2. Gary,

    The bird may well have been the Serin as there are few finches that are likely to occur here. As for the warbler the only resident phylloscopus warbler is Brown Woodland Warbler but the time was good for migrants and then anything could turn up with Common Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler being the commonest.

    Jem

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