One of the great things about working a ‘patch’ is you can see birds that are common in the region but rare or uncommon on the patch, which make your day. One such bird is the Western Osprey that I see every time I go to the Dammam – Al Khobar Wader Roost south and almost every time I go to Sabkhat Al Fasl, but that I have only seen four times on the patch with the first being on 5th March 2012. The species is a resident breeder in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, where it is commonly seen but in low numbers. A nice, fairly confiding, bird was seen sitting on the wire fence surrounding the percolation pond and allowed me fairly close approach before flying off and attempting, but failing, to catch a fish in the pond. It was then mercilessly mobbed by Black-winged Stilts which drove if off from the area.
Birds like this make it worth the effort of going out every day in the middle of summer when most people do not leave their houses. There were very few birds about apart from this with two Little Stints on the settling pond and one Blue-cheeked Bee-eater around the percolation pond being the best. There seem to be plenty of juvenile Namaqua Doves this year compared to last year indicating they have had a better breeding season.