11 Feb 2014

Ringing in Saudi Arabia - Sabkhat Al Fasl

After many years trying, I have finally managed to obtain permission to ring in Saudi Arabia from the Saudi Wildlife Authority. This will allow me to stay in the country that I am really interested in birding, rather than having to go to Bahrain to ring as previously. The main issue with Bahrain, apart from it not being my country of residence, and thus less interesting to me bird wise, is the trouble trying to get across the causeway. The customs and passport control can take anything from a few minutes to several hours and you are never really sure which one it will be. With my skill of always choosing the slowest moving queue, it was never a pleasant experience. I am very grateful to the Saudi Wildlife Authority, especially Ammar from Jubail for granting me permission as well as Mohammad Shobrak for putting me in contact with the correct people. I now have the Saudi Arabian bird rings in my possession and a signed letter from the Saudi Wildlife Authority for me to ring at Sabkhat Al Fasl as well as Dhahran and I am a very happy man. All the data gathered on the birds we ring will be passed on the Saudi Wildlife Authority for processing and safekeeping. Hopefully this will be a long a fruitful experience for both me as well as the Authority.
Common Kingfisher
Common Kingfisher
Clamorous Reed Warbler
Clamorous Reed Warbler
Clamorous Reed Warbler
Clamorous Reed Warbler
Bluethroat
Bluethroat
Red-spotted Bluethroat
Red-spotted Bluethroat
Nicole and I went to Sabkhat Al Fasl on Friday 7 February for our first outing using Saudi Arabian rings and as such we were not sure where to set the nets. As I know this area very well I choose a place I thought would be good and quiet. We only set three nets as we started catching birds as soon as the first net was up. Unfortunately the wind got up and stopped ringing a bit early but we managed to catch a few good birds. Some of the birds caught we could not ring as we did not have the correct rings from Saudi Arabia, such as two female Common Kingfishers and a Graceful Prinia. We did ring nine Clamorous Reed Warblers, two Red-spotted Bluethroats and a new ringing species for me that I will post about later.

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