3 Jul 2016

Rare and unusual birds seen in Saudi Arabia in first half of 2016

A minimum of three calling Harlequin Quail Coturnix delegorguei were heard and seen in a large vegetated field near Sabya 2 June. A Striated Heron Butorides striata was at Dammam Corniche seafront 12 February the fourth record for the Eastern Province. A Goliath Heron Ardea goliath was at KAUST 16 January to 14 May, a first for the area and well north of its normal range. The second Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel
for Saudi Arabia was at KAUST 14 May. A Black-winged Kite Elanus caeruleus was present near Tabuk 25 March. The wintering Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus remained at Rabigh Dam until 29 January at least and at least fifteen Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga
wintered at Sabkhat Al Fasl until March. A Booted Eagle Aquila pennata was at Sabkhat Al Fasl, 8 January a vagrant to the Eastern Province and another was at Tabuk 10 January where they are rare winter visitors. The second Eurasian Hobby Falco subbuteo
for KAUST was present 22 April.
Sociable Lapwing
Sociable Lapwing

425 Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus at Haradh 5 February where the largest recorded flock for Saudi Arabia. A Spur-winged Lapwing Vanellus spinosus
was at Haradh west pivot fields 5 February and a Red-wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus was in the Empty Quarter near Shaybah 8 March. Sixteen Sociable Lapwing Vanellus gregarius
were at Haradh 5 February only the second record for the Eastern Province with three Caspian Plover Charadrius asiaticus in the same field on the same date. Two winter plumaged Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus at Sabkhat Al Fasl 26 February. A single Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse Pterocles exustus at Sabkhat Al Fasl 12 February only the third record for the Eastern Province and six at Al Hayer, Riyadh 3 June were also unusual. 
Pied Kingfisher
Pied Kingfisher

A juvenile Pharaoh Eagle Owl Bubo ascalaphus was at Sabkht Al Fasl 3 June an unusual site for the species with a pair with two young at Al Hayer, Riyadh 3 June. Two male Diederik Cuckoo Chrysococcyx caprius were at Al Mehfar Park, Tanoumah 30-31 May, one of which was trapped and ringed. An Egyptian Nightjar Caprimulgus aegyptius was at Sabkhat Al Fasl 8 January an unusual winter record. Two Collared Kingfisher Todirhamphus chloris were trapped and ringed at Either Mangroves, Jizan Province 1 June. A White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis was at Deffi Park, Jubail 22 January to 26 February with another at Sabkhat Al Fasl 4 March. Six of the wintering Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis were at Sabkhat Al Fasl until 4 March at least with one remaining until 15 April and another remaining at Al Hair, Riyadh until 22 April.
Pied Kingfisher
Woodlark (courtesy Phil Roberts)
Dead Sea Sparrow
Dead Sea Sparrow
Three ‘mangrove’ white-eye sp Zosterops (abyssinicus?) sp, an as yet unidentified White-eye, were trapped and ringed at Either Mangroves 1 June. A reeling Common Grasshopper Warbler Locustella naevia was at NADA Dairy Farm, Hufuf 8 April. A Black Scrub Robin Cercotrichas podobe near Sarrar 15 January was the fifth record of this species for the Eastern Province, although common in the west of the country. Two African Pipit Anthus cinnamomeus eximius were trapped and ringed in Al Mefah Park, Tanoumah 31 May & 1 June. Two Woodlark Lullula arborea near Sarrar, Eastern Province 15 January, were only the second record of this species for the Kingdom and a flock of eleven Dead Sea Sparrow Passer moabiticus at Sabkhat Al Fasl 26 February to 4 Mar chwere also only the second record for the country.


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