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

17 Oct 2020

Red-necked Phalarope - Jubail

Phil Roberts and I found a winter plumaged Red-necked Phalarope on some flooded Sabkha in Jubail in late September. Red-necked Phalarope is an uncommon bird in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, with Jubail the best place in the Province to see them. Bundy’s ‘Birds of the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia’ published in October 1989 states that they are regular in varying numbers on marshy pools in spring but very scarce and irregular in autumn. Records are regular in Kuwait to the north but from the Eastern Province are limited with one record from March, scare in April and regular in May with the peak inland count being 150 birds at Abqaiq in May 1976. As shown they were regular in years gone by but have become increasingly scarce, although in the last seven years birds have been seen each year. Recent sightings have been in February, May, June, August, September and October.





15 Oct 2020

Bath White – Wadi Thee Ghazal

Whilst birding Wadi Thee Ghazal I found a few Bath White Pontia daplidice. This is a small butterfly of the family Pieridae, the yellows and whites, which occurs in the Palearctic region. It is a small white butterfly with a wingspan of 45 to 50 mm. The underside of the hindwing has a pattern of greenish blotches, which is characteristic of the Bath whites and easily identifies it from other pierids. Sexes can be differentiated by markings on the forewing. The male is differentiated from the female by the markings on the upperside of the forewing. The apex of the forewing is black with white spots and lines. There is a black spot at the end of the cell. In the case of the female, there is an additional discal spot in 1b. The female also has an obscure row of terminal and marginal spots on the upper hindwing. They have a wingspan of 52–56 mm and occur commonly in central and southern Europe, Asia Minor, Persia and Afghanistan, migrating northwards in the summer. It is usually found on dry slopes and rough ground with little vegetation.The host plants of the larvae are in the family Brassicaceae and vary according to locality. They include tower mustard (Arabis glabra) and sea rocket (Cakile maritima). The subspecies found in Saudi Arabia is Pontia daplidice aethiops which occurs in the highlands of Ethiopia, south-western Arabia, Near East and Afghanistan.
Bath White