10 Jul 2014

Some good summer birds – Sabkhat Al Fasl

Phil and I set out for Sabkhat Al Fasl early to see if there was anything about. This is generally the worst time in Saudi Arabia but Sabkhat Al Fasl has a record of Egyptian Nightjars turning up early in July and so we were on the look out for this species. They tend to stay incredibly well hidden and take some looking for unless you happen to disturb one into flight. We found two birds, both of which are shown below, without disturbing them in two separate areas of the site. There had been a juvenile Red-wattled Lapwing around for a few weeks but it was not seen last weekend despite a few birders searching. We were thus quite surprised when I re-found the same juvenile in a different area of the location feeding alongside a wet area by the main reed beds. The bird has now been about for a month and makes an interesting record, as they are scarce in the Eastern Province. Other waders have started to return already showing autumn migration is underway with ten Green Sandpipers, three Greater Sand Plovers and two Eurasian Curlews the best birds. A single Little Bittern and a single Squacco Heron were in the reeds  and up to 1000 greater Flamingos were spread out over the flooded sabkha area. Here there were plenty of terns with White-cheeked Terns and Little Terns the main species, although we did also see a single Caspian Tern and two White-winged Terns. Three Barn Swallows and two Sand Martins were over the reeds but not much else.
Egyptian Nightjar
Egyptian Nightjar
Red-wattled Lapwing - juvenile
Red-wattled Lapwing - juvenile
Red-wattled Lapwing - juvenile
Eurasian Curlew
Green Sandpipers
White-winged Tern
Greater Flamingo

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