17 Sep 2014

A good afternoons birding on the ‘patch’ – Dhahran Hills

On Friday I took my girls out for an afternoons birding and we had a great time and saw a few good birds. We have started taking out the new Collins bird guide on the I-Pad, which is great as the girls can find and see the birds that we are looking at. We went to the percolation pond as this is a good area for seeing birds through the telescope but before we got there a group of noisy motocross bikes scared all the birds into flight. This included an amazing 19 Purple Herons, easily the highest count I have had on the ‘patch’ for this species with the previous highest being 13. Also flushed were a few ducks including at least six Ferruginous Ducks, two Garganey and ten Northern Shovellers. Whilst walking around the pond we found four Ortolan Buntings including a really smart male and a 1st year (Eastern) Black-eared Wheatear, that allowed very close approach and full frame photos. This species is seen each year on the camp but in very small numbers so this was  a good experience. Other migrants included a Squacco Heron and a juvenile white morph Indian Reef Heron along with a large group of 30+ Sand Martins. A Blue-cheeked Bee-eater added some colour and a Southern Grey Shrike eating some sort of prey in a thorn bush was educational for the girls. Waders included a few Ruff, Kentish Plovers, Common Ringed Plovers, Little Ringed Plovers, Little Stints, Wood Sandpipers and Black-winged Stilts and a single Temminck’s Stint and Green Sandpiper.
Eastern Black-eared Wheatear - 1st Year
Eastern Black-eared Wheatear - 1st Year
Eastern Black-eared Wheatear - 1st Year
Southern Grey Shrike
Ortolan Bunting
Green Sandpiper

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