25 May 2019

Eastern Nightingale - Jubail

An interesting record of an Eastern (Common) Nightingale Luscinia (megarhynchos) golzii was recorded nar Jubail in early May 2019. Eastern Nightingale is sometimes regarded as a separate species from Common Nightingale and breeds in Eastern Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Armenia, Kazakhstan & Afghanistan and they winter mainly in southern Africa.

Identification differences from Common Nightingale include:-
Pale fringes to the terials
Pale fringes to the greater coverts
Pale supercillium (often hard to see in the field)
Upperparts less rusty in tone (often greyish)
Paler underparts
Longer wing and tail lengths


23 May 2019

Dunlin in breeding plumage - Jubail

Whilst birding the Jubail area recently I saw a few summer plumaged Dunlin, these birds are supposedly of the subspecies Calidris alpina centralis. I rarely see Dunlin in summer plumage, so took the opportunity to take a few photos and although the light was very poor but I did manage to obtain a few average photos, shown below. C. a. centralis breeds in north-east Siberia from Taymyr Peninsula to Kolyma Delta and winters from the eastern Mediterranean and Red Sea eastwards to southern Asia.
Dunlin

Dunlin

Dunlin

Dunlin

Dunlin

Dunlin

Dunlin

21 May 2019

Migrants - Jubail

A steady trickle of migrants have been passing through the Eastern Province in the last couple of weeks with several Red-backed Shrike appearing. Lesser Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher, Common Redstart, Pied Wheatear, Tree Pipit and Western Siberian Stonechat were also seen in small numbers. Very few Yellow Wagtails have been around recently compared to recent years but small flocks of European and Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters have been passing over mainly in the early morning.
Red-backed Shrike
Red-backed Shrike 
Red-backed Shrike
Common Redsatart
Common Redsatart
Pied Wheatear
Pied Wheatear
Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin
Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin
Tree Pipit
Tree Pipit
Western Siberian Stonechat
Western Siberian Stonechat

19 May 2019

Great Snipe - Jubail

Initially found by Phil Roberts on 6 May it was feeding in a shallow area of flooded sabka. Phil took a number of excellent photos of the bird including with the wings raised showing clearly all the features of Great Snipe. As I had only seen one bird previously in Saudi Arabia at the edge of the percolation pond in Dhahran Saudi Aramco Camp, Dhahran 22 October 2011 I was keen to see if the bird was still around at the weekend. Luckily for me it was still present in exactly the same area and after feeding in the open for some time walked onto the land and rested under a tree where we left it. Great Snipe is the largest of the three species in Western Europe and is 5% to 10% longer and broader-winged and about 10% longer legged, but 10% shorter-billed and marginally shorter-tailed. Great shows more white in the upperwing (all of the wing coverts, including the primary coverts, are fringed white) showing a white-boardered, dark mid-wing panel broader white sides to the tail and darker, more densely barred underwings. It appears bulkier, primarily because of its stouter bill, larger head, greater girth and broader wings giving it more of a ball shape on the ground. The head pattern of the Great Snipe is subtly different from that of the Snipe, with less pronounced striping and the belly shows less white being almost completely barred ith the exception of the central belly. There is extensive white on the outer tail-feathers but this was not visible in the field as the bird did not fly and we did not want to disturb it. It is a rare bird in Saudi Arabia with a single record from KAUST in 2018. Birds of the Riyadh Region (Stagg 1994) stating it is a scarce passage migrant and winter visitor. Passes February to April in ones and twos and again from September to November, sometimes several mingling with G. gallinago. Winter visitors occur December and January. In the Eastern Province, it is a Vagrant with six records of eight birds. One Abqaiq 9-10 May 1976, Three Abqaiq 3-16 September 1977, One Abqaiq 12-13 October 1977, One Abqaiq 30 April 1982, One Dhahran 22 October 2011 and one Jubail 6-10 May 2019.


















17 May 2019

Passage & Breeding Waders - Jubail

Wader numbers have started to increase again as passage of some species speeds up. Passage waders included good numbers of Wood Sandpiper and Ruff with smaller numbers of summer plumaged Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin and Little Stint. Terek Sandpiper, Common Ringed Plover and a single Broad-billed Sandpiper were also seen. Regular breeders were seen in good numbers with plenty of Black-winged Stilt around including many well grown juveniles. Kentish Plover were also seen with a few juveniles, another species that breeds locally.
Little Stint
Little Stint
Wood Sandpiper
Wood Sandpiper
Black-winged Stilt - juvenile
Black-winged Stilt - juvenile
Curlew Sandpiper
Curlew Sandpiper