27 Oct 2020

Spotted Crake at Jubail – Bird record by Munzir Khan

Whilst birdwatching the Jubail in mid-October, Munzir Khan came across a Spotted Crake at the edge of a reed bed area and took the below photograph which he has kindly allowed me to use on my website. Spotted Crake is an uncommon passage migrant with a few birds overwintering in some years. It is probably an overlooked species, due to its skulking nature with birds in spring from late February to mid-May and in autumn occurring from September to December but mainly in October and November. The Birds of the Riyadh Region (Stagg 1994) says they are a spring and autumn passage migrant. Passes late February to mid-May with main movement occurring in April. Return passage extends from late August to early November, peaking in October. Sightings have considerably increased with wetland expansion in the region. Up to 30 in a day have been seen in April along the Riyadh watercourse. These numbers are no longer seen in the Riyadh area although birds are still seen quite commonly at the correct time of year.



25 Oct 2020

Hypocolius at Khafra Marsh – Bird records by Jibin Jayan

Whilst birding the Khafra Marsh area near Jubail on 17 October Jibin Jayan came across a young Hypocolius. This is an early date for birds in Saudi Arabia and a very nice find as they are a regular but local winter visitor from November to April. In the Eastern Province it has been noted at widely scattered locations from Hanidh in the north to Haradh in the south. The highest counts have been 85-120 at Salasil in December 1983. Migrants have been seen in November and April, with odd males at Haradh and Al Kharj away from the normal palms suggesting migration during those months. In Saudi Arabia as a whole they are an uncommon, but may be a locally common winter visitor to Central Arabia, Northern Hejaz, Hejaz and Northern Red Sea. Flocks of over 100 birds have been recorded in Riyadh each winter. Jibin kindly allowed me to ushers photos on my website which are shown below.





23 Oct 2020

Oman Cownose Ray – Farasan Islands

Whilst crossing from Greater Farasan Island to Segid Island we saw a shoal of over fifty Oman Cownose Ray Rhinoptera jayakari. This species occurs from South Africa to the Philippines; north to Ryukyu Is. and south to eastern Indonesia. However, it may comprise of two closely related species based on genetic findings where the forms possibly differ in the shape of the head and tail and robustness of the bodies. It has a maximum length of 90 cm and often aggregates in large shoals. Exhibit ovoviparity with embryos feeding initially on yolk, then receiving additional nourishment from the mother by indirect absorption of uterine fluid enriched with mucus, fat or protein through specialised structures.
Oman Cownose Ray

Oman Cownose Ray

Oman Cownose Ray

Oman Cownose Ray

Oman Cownose Ray

Oman Cownose Ray

Oman Cownose Ray

Oman Cownose Ray

21 Oct 2020

European Roller at Khafra Marsh – Bird records by Jibin Jayan

While birding at Kafrah Marsh, Jubail on 9 October Jibin Jayan came across a European Roller sitting on a bunch of a tree. It was a long way off, but he managed to take the below photograph that he has kindly allowed me to use on my website. 



19 Oct 2020

Spotted Eagle Ray – Farasan Islands

Whilst crossing from Greater Farasan Island to Segid Island we saw a single large Spotted Eagle Ray Aetobatus narinari from the road bridge. This is a large species of ray distinguished by a long snout, flat and rounded like a ducks bill, a thik head, and a pectoral disc with sharply curved, angular corners. Numerous white spots on black or bluish disc; white below with long whip-like tail, with a long spine near the base behind small dorsal fin. Commonly found in shallow inshore waters such as bays and coral reefs. Benthopelagic, found near land at 1-60 m and sometimes enters estuaries. Swims close to the surface, occasionally leaping out of the water. Feeds mainly on bivalves but also eats shrimps, crabs, octopus and worms, whelks, and small fishes. Exhibit ovoviparity with embryos feeding initially on yolk, then receiving additional nourishment from the mother by indirect absorption of uterine fluid enriched with mucus, fat or protein through specialised structures. Bears young in litters of 2-4.
Spotted Eagle Ray

Spotted Eagle Ray

Spotted Eagle Ray

Spotted Eagle Ray