25 Jan 2021

Jahwat Ibn Tali

Jawat Ibn Tali is a large group of old historic stone buildings on the left side of the main road through the Talea Valley if driving through from Abha. They are well preserved and are lit up at night. You can view them from the side of the main road, as there are good places to pull off safely and take photographs.




23 Jan 2021

Blue Pansy - Tanoumah

Whilst birdwatching the Tanoumah area I came across a Blue Pansy Butterfly Junonia orithyawhich is native to Africa as well as parts of Asia and Australia and is also called the Eyed Pansy in Africa and in Australia the Blue Argus. Butterflies belonging to the family Nymphalidae are few in number in Saudi Arabia although are quite conspicuous. They include Blue Pansy that is a migratory butterfly and they appear sporadically, produce one or more local broods of offspring, and then disappear again until their next invasion. Their success in establishing themselves temporarily within the region depends very much upon their powers of adaptation and choice of larval food-plants. The adults occur in open areas, often sitting on bare ground. This species has a stiff flap and glide style of flight and maintains a territory, driving away other butterflies that enter it. The upperside of the forewing for the male is black to dark brown with a whitish sub-apical band, two orange and two blue bars in the cell, and two post-discal eye-spots. The hindwing of the male is brilliant blue with orange post-discal eye-spots. The female is similarly marked but with a much duller hue. Underneath, both sexes are grayish brown with cryptic orange/brown markings and have eye-spots similarly placed as on the upperside. 



21 Jan 2021

Brown-necked Raven – Wadi Ad Dewasir

The Brown-necked Raven occurs throughout the desert belt of the Old World from Cape Verde Islands east through Africa and Arabia to Kazakhstan and western Pakistan. They are a common resident breeder in Saudi Arabia and have been seen on the Farasan Islands as well as the Rub’ al-Khali and is commonest in the central and western regions of the Kingdom. As a result, it was not surprising to see many birds in the Wadi Ad Dewasir area, central Saudi Arabia, when we visited. They are normally not easy to approach and get photos of so the below attempts were my best efforts so far. On the trip back to Dhahran, many birds were seen along the road close to Wadi Ad Dewasir, presumably looking for road kill.








19 Jan 2021

King Jird – Wadi Grosbeak

Whilst birding Wadi Grosbeak I came across a few King Jird Meriones rex. The animals were seen near their burrows, but luckily, one remained above ground for some time allowing some photographs to be taken. The King Jird is endemic to Arabia and occurs in the highlands of the southwestern Arabian Peninsula, from near Mecca in Saudi Arabia south to near Aden in Yemen. In Saudi Arabia, the species has been reported from 1,350 to 2,200 metres above sea level. This Jird lives in large burrows amongst bushes, preferring raised areas bordering agricultural land. It is active in the evening and early morning. It lives in burrows which it shares with other rodents and lizards. They are reported as common throughout their range. Although I have seen the King Jird on a number of occasions they are difficult to photograph as they are normally seen briefly disappearing down their burrows.
King Jird

King Jird

King Jird

King Jird

King Jird

King Jird

King Jird



17 Jan 2021

Birding the lake area – Dhahran Hills

The lake area in Dhahran is now large as additional water is being pumped into it. It has started to attract good numbers of herons with Little Egret, Great Egret, Grey Heron, Squacco Herron and Cattle Egret all in good numbers. Great Egret is the scarcest of all the egrets but up to seven have been seen in the last few weeks. In the early morning hundreds of Great Cormorant come to the lake to wash and catch the large numbers of Talapia fish present, but are very nervous and do not allow close approach. Common Black-headed Gulls also arrive in good numbers in the early morning but then generally hang around all day. A single Black-necked Grebe and Common Kingfisher have been present for several weeks but again do not allow you to get too close. Several terns are also present which is a little surprising as the lake is a long way from the coast with Gull-billed Tern, White-winged and Whiskered Tern all present, mainly in the evenings.

Common Black-headed Gull

Black-necked Grebe

Black-necked Grebe

Common Kingfisher

Great Cormorant

Great Cormorant

Grey Heron

Grey Heron

Gull-billed Tern

Gull-billed Tern


Whiskered Term

Whiskered Term

Whiskered Term