18 Jul 2019

Little Terns - Jubail

As mentioned previously Little Terns are seen during the summer months along the eastern province coast of the Arabian Gulf, where they are a common breeding visitor. They are normally seen at some distance either flying around or resting on mudflats. Below are a few photos of birds in flight with one seen close on the ground as the last photo. It has been a good year for photographing Little Tern this year and I am pleased with a few photos I have taken of the species in 2019. 
Little Tern

Little Tern

Little Tern

Little Tern

Little Tern

Little Tern

Little Tern

Little Tern

Little Tern

16 Jul 2019

Typical Summer Birds - Jubail

Summer birding in the Eastern Province is relatively quiet but good birds can be seen with perseverance. Terns are common summer visitors to mainly breed on the offshore islands in the Gulf with Caspian Tern, White-cheeked tern and Little Tern being commonly seen. Common breeding waders include Black-winged Stilt and Kentish Plover with Clamorous Reed Warbler also a common resident breeder. Egyptian Nightjar is a possible but unconfirmed breeder and a regular summer visitor to Jubail in recent years. 
Black-winged Stilt
Black-winged Stilt
Black-winged Stilt
Black-winged Stilt
Caspian Reed Warbler
Caspian Reed Warbler
White-cheeked Tern
White-cheeked Tern
Caspian Tern
Caspian Tern
Little Tern
Little Tern
Egyptian Nightjar
Egyptian Nightjar
Egyptian Nightjar
Egyptian Nightjar

14 Jul 2019

Juvenile Egyptian Nightjars - Jubail

Whilst birding the Jubail area recently I came across good numbers of Egyptian Nightjars. I saw a number of birds that I assumed were juveniles due to their fresh plumage, but as I have not, knowingly, seen this age before sent some to Oscar Campbell in UAE as I knew he has seen some in recent years. Oscar kindly replied noting “you can be pretty confident these are all juveniles. The plumage is very fresh and smoothly soft, and they pretty much all have nice, neat white fringed coverts forming neat lines across the wing. Adults are really worn and grubby now and often look much darker; they never have the neat pale fringes, but may show erratic, dull buffy-cream covert spots”. We have no proof of breeding in KSA and as these birds are old enough to fly still have no conclusive evidence that they do breed in Kingdom but it looks very likely. We have assumed this to be the case for a few years but this is the first year juveniles have been conclusively seen. If they do breed in the Kingdom then the site where I see them may not be the breeding location and is more likely just used as a post breeding gathering location, as they are rarely seen, and then normally singly, in spring. These birds should now stay here until mid-September if other years are anything to go by. Numbers are increasing each year with at least 19 birds seen this year including at least six juveniles. There are possibly more as it is difficult to make sure you are not seeing, and counting, the same birds more than once.
Juvenile Egyptian Nightjar

Juvenile Egyptian Nightjar

Juvenile Egyptian Nightjar

Juvenile Egyptian Nightjar

Juvenile Egyptian Nightjar

Juvenile Egyptian Nightjar

Juvenile Egyptian Nightjar

Juvenile Egyptian Nightjar

Juvenile Egyptian Nightjar

Juvenile Egyptian Nightjar

Juvenile Egyptian Nightjar

Juvenile Egyptian Nightjar


12 Jul 2019

Fishing Little Terns - Jubail

During the summer months along the eastern province coast of the Arabian Gulf, Little Terns are a common breeding visitor. They are normally seen at some distance either flying around or resting on mudflats. Occasionally they find good feeding areas closer to the shore and then give good views. Trying to photograph them is tricky as they fly fast and trying to get shots of birds fishing even more difficult as their dives are extremely fast.  I spent quite a bit of time trying to get shots of birds entering the water with limited success, as handling a large 600mm lens for prolonged periods trying to photograph the terns is not an easy job with the below shots the best I could manage. 
Fishing Little Tern

Fishing Little Tern

Fishing Little Tern

Fishing Little Tern

Fishing Little Tern

Fishing Little Tern

Fishing Little Tern

Fishing Little Tern

Fishing Little Tern

Fishing Little Tern

Fishing Little Tern

Fishing Little Tern

Fishing Little Tern

10 Jul 2019

Possible breeding Spur-winged Lapwing - Jubail

Whilst birding the Jubail area in late June 2019 I saw four Spur-winged Lapwings in two different sites. The birds were very noisy calling and flying around when I got too close. There have been at least two birds around throughout the year and as last year suspected breeding occurred. Presumably the birds are again breeding this year but no young have ever been seen. The species is still scarce in the Eastern Province although good numbers have been seen recently in the Haradh area including possible breeding. The species was regarded as a vagrant to the Eastern Province when I arrived eight years ago but is now a scarce visitor that can be seen at any time of year indicating birds may now be resident in small numbers in areas away from Haradh where it appears they are now definitely resident. 
Spur-winged Lapwing