3 May 2013

Changeable Weather – Dhahran Hills


After Riyadh was affected by large amounts of rain over the last few days, it was Dhahrans turn. We had one day of intermittent heavy rain and the birds really looked quite sad for themselves. It is unusual to have heavy rain in Dhahran and seeing soaking wet birds is quite a novelty. It curtailed any photography but not birding. Many birds were trying to keep out of the wet but a few interesting birds were seen. The best was a European Roller flying around, looking for somewhere suitable to land, over the spray fields.
European Roller
Plenty of waders were enjoying the more extensive wet patches on the spray fields with 19 Wood Sandpipers, seven Little Stints, two Little Ringed Plovers, two Kentish Plovers and a Terek Sandpiper. The Terek Sandpiper has now been about for almost a week, a record for the site. Very few other birds were seen apart from Red-throated Pipits and a scattering of shrikes including Lesser Grey, Daurian, Turkestan and Red-backed. The next day the rain had stopped and the sun eventually came out and the birds became more active. A small group of seven Indian Silverbills were feeding together on a few grass seedheads in the scrubby desert area.
Indian Silverbill
Indian Silverbill
Plenty of European Bee-eaters were flying about overhead and I found one bird sitting on a thorn bush at very close range and managed to take a couple of photographs before it flew off to catch a flying insect. Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters were also still around and a few Shrikes including seven adult male Red-backed Shrikes, one Keralini type Turkestan Shrike, one Masked Shrike and an adult Lesser Grey Shrike. Two European Turtle Doves were sitting in their favourite tree to the side of the percolation pond.
European Bee-eater
European Bee-eater
Red-backed Shrike - adult male

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