17 May 2016

Update on birds in KFUPM Dhahran – Records by Lorna Mackenzie

Lorna Mackenzie sent me an update of birding her local patch. Lorna’s little patch was pretty quiet this spring until recently possibly due to the unsettled weather up to mid-April. Since then things have picked up into a good show of migrants. The residents are all busy courting and nesting, and among the sparrows there have been a few Spanish Sparrows for the first time a species I have only seen once in Dhahran Camp next to KFUPM. Migrants have included a sky absolutely filled with Swallows. Lorna had hardly seen any at other times, literally two or three on just some days. Regarding Swifts Lorna has seen many more Pallid than Common this year, never in huge numbers but very regularly in small numbers. A very early sighting of two European Bee-Eaters on 21st February was unusual, and although not too many more for a week or two, there have been a few dozen most days. Lorna was seeing a few Willow Warblers through March, Willow Warblers mostly but recently she noticed good numbers of Blackcaps and particularly high numbers of Barred Warblers, often together. She has been seeing both all over her patch and not just in trees but on the ground as well. A very nice Great Reed Warbler was in exactly the same corner of parkland I watched a youngish one last year. Lots of Spotted Flycatchers have been around, again more this past week although there have been one or two around for the last month or so. There are more Common Redstarts than previous years, an odd one over the last month but their numbers have gone up in the past week. There's been an occasional Northern Wheatear from time to time in the past couple of months but in the last fortnight a few Black-Eared Wheatears as well. The Shrikes have included a couple of Woodchat Shrike around for some time from late March onwards. There are many more Turkestan Shrikes now and a few Daurian Shrikes, not to mention a splendid Red-Backed Shrike that appeared recently and was an absolute stunning adult male as well as a female. Other notables around at the moment are several European Wrynecks, Yellow Wagtails, Red-Throated Pipits with a few Tree Pipits among them. A beautiful male Rock Thrush was seen last week as well. I thank Lorna for sending me her update as well as a few photos that she kindly gave me permission to reproduce below.
Red-backed Shrike
Red-backed Shrike
Red-backed Shrike
Red-backed Shrike
Woodchat Shrike
Woodchat Shrike
Woodchat Shrike
Woodchat Shrike

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