14 Apr 2016

Birdwatching at NADA dairy and juices farm - Hofuf

On 8 April 2016 Phil Roberts and I went birdwatching on the NADA dairy and juices farm in Hofuf. The farm is part of Al Othman Agriculture Production and Processing Company (NADA), and is one of the leading producers, manufacturers and distributors of fresh dairy and juice products in Saudi Arabia. This dairy farm is one of the largest dairy enterprises in the Kingdom and currently accommodates about 20,000 cows. The cows are given feed, some of which is grown locally on the farm, with the feed fields creating excellent habitat for birds in the way of very large pivot irrigations fields. We spent most of our time birding these fields to see what birdlife was present as we had been to Haradh the weekend before and seen a lot of birds in the fields and scrubby areas nearby. The weekend we went the weather was very poor with a huge thunder and lightning storm and a lot of rain on the way to the location. The number of birds seen was significantly down from the previous weekend but this was the case throughout the Eastern Province according to reports from other birdwatchers out that weekend. We saw high numbers of European Bee-eaters with close to 200 birds seen in small groups many of which gathered together in some trees totaling over a 100 birds. House Sparrow was the other common bird with hundreds seen. A small number of Spanish Sparrows were also seen in the farm. The fields had relatively few birds present but Crested Lark was common and doves of various types such as Namaqua Dove, Laughing Dove and Eurasian Collared Dove were all seen in small numbers. White-eared Bulbul was resident as was Graceful Prinia but we failed to locate any birds of prey at all, species that normally use pivot irrigation fields at this time of year. A single Eurasian Hoopoe was seen that may have been a migrant and other migrants seen were Tree Pipit, Barn Swallows, Pallid Swifts and Masked Shrike. The best bird located was a Common Grasshopper warbler (posted about previously) that is a rare visitor to the Kingdom. Although we did not choose the best day to go birding on the farm we enjoyed our trip and saw a new location that has excellent habitat for birds. These farms have plenty of varied habitat types for passage migrants and must be a tremendous help to birds migrating through the harsh deserts of the region.I would like to thank the kindness and generosity of Abdulaziz Al Othman for allowing us access to his company’s farm in Hofuf as well as to Kumar from the Al Othman group for arranging access and security clearance to the property and to Shahul Hameed the farm supervisor who met us at the gate, arranged access with security and showed us around the farm taking us to good areas for birds.
European Bee-eater
European Bee-eater
European Bee-eater
European Bee-eater
Graceful Prinia
Graceful Prinia
Namaqua Dove
Namaqua Dove
Tree Pipit
Tree Pipit
Tree Pipit
Tree Pipit
Pallid Swift
Pallid Swift

2 comments:

  1. Jem
    Well done to try birding at this new location, Of course a dairy farms are excellent places for birds during migration, as you know you should visit the place again in the autumn and winter .
    Regards
    Mansur

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    Replies
    1. Mansur

      The plan is to try again in winter to see what birds the farm has then - access permitting.

      Jem

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