25 Jan 2015

Some Arabian Endemics near Taif – Wadi Thee Ghazal

On Saturday 17 January Phil Roberts and I went to Wadi Thee Ghazal near Taif. This is a well-vegetated wadi with large mature Juniper trees and other large plants and was a site where Arabian Golden-winged Grosbeak had been filmed by a camera trap in 2009 set to look for Arabian Leopard by the Saudi Wildlife Authority. As we were trying to see the species it was an obvious choice to bird and as it turned out the birding was excellent here. We failed again to see the Grosbeak but located Arabian Wheatear with both males and females seen, Yemen Linnet and Yemen Serin of the Arabian regional endemics. Other good birds included Arabian Warbler, Scrub Warbler, Song Thrushes, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Abyssinian White-eye, Eastern Black Redstarts, Tristram’s Starlings, Palestinian Sunbirds, Brown-woodland Warblers and Pale Crag Martins. The number of Song Thrushes was very high with about 50 birds seen during the day possibly due to the cold weather further north where snow fell in Jordan, Lebanon and northern Saudi Arabia a few days before. This is an excellent site for birding with a lot of birds present although the species total was low. The location where the Arabian Golden-winged Grosbeak was seen was 21.0795N, 40.3435E that is approximately 2000 metres above sea level.
Arabian Wheatear - male
Arabian Wheatear - male
Arabian Wheatear - male
Arabian Wheatear - male
Arabian Wheatear - female
Arabian Wheatear - female
Arabian Warbler
Arabian Warbler
Eastern Black Redstart
Eastern Black Redstart
Eurasian Sparrowhawk
Eurasian Sparrowhawk
Tristram's Starling
Tristram's Starling
Tristram's Starling
Tristram's Starling

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