13 Sep 2015

A huge fall of Shrikes - Ash Shargiyah Development Company Farm (Fadhili)

In early September on an exceptional day of birding at Ash Shargiyah Development Company Farm, near Jubail, we had a massive fall of shrikes. It was obvious as soon as we got to the location migrants were everywhere but shrike numbers were particularly impressive. By the end of the day we had seen eight different species (Red-backed Shrike, Turkestan Shrike, Daurian Shrike, Southern Grey Shrike, Steppe Grey Shrike, Masked Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike and Woodchat Shrike). Some birds were relatively easy to get close to, suggesting them may be freshly arrived migrants, but luckily the are where they were held plenty of food for them and they were mostly busily hunting it. Due to the number of birds seen throughout the day it was difficult to keep accurate numbers but we probably saw close to fifty Woodchat Shrikes, the species that was the most common. We also saw between five and ten Red-backed Shrike, Turkestan Shrike and Daurian Shrike, one Southern Grey Shrike and Masked Shrike, six Steppe Grey Shrikes and over ten Lesser Grey Shrikes. This made the grand total for the day of approaching 100 birds. This is easily the highest numbers of shrikes we have seen in a day whilst birding in the Kingdom, although we once saw well over fifty Red-backed Shrikes on a morning at Sabkhat Al Fasl in the spring. It was not only the totals that were impressive but also the number of species seen with all the Saudi Arabian shrikes seen in a day with the exception of the vagrant Bay-backed and Long-tailed Shrikes.
Arabian Shrike
Southern Grey Shrike
Arabian Shrike
Southern Grey Shrike
Arabian Shrike
Southern Grey Shrike
Lesser Grey Shrike - adult
Lesser Grey Shrike - adult
Lesser Grey Shrike - immature
Lesser Grey Shrike - immature
Red-backed Shrike
Red-backed Shrike
Woodchat Shrike
Woodchat Shrike
Woodchat Shrike
Woodchat Shrike

3 comments:

  1. Hi Jem, Had a similar experience at Al Hayer weekend before last. Lesser Grey, Woodchat, Daurian and Masked all on the same sprinkler arm. A good day for Collared Pratincoles and Cream Coloured Courser too

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    1. Bernard

      Great news that the fall was across a vast area of Saudi Arabia. Viv also had a good time in Tabuk that day. There must be tens of thousands of birds involved in these movements if not more when you think we only bird timy areas and the distance between them is hundreds of kilometres

      Jem

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  2. Yep very exciting. Went to Al Kharj on Saturday. Lots of waders but not many other birds where I was, well excluding Namaqua, Laughing and Collared Doves, House Sparrows and Prinias.

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