30 July 2011

Crab Plover again at Dammam - Al Khobar Wader Roost South

On 28th July I went again the the Dammam - Al Khobar Wader Rooast South at high tide. High tide appears to be about thirty minutes later at this site than the advertised high tide times but I was there to see the waders pushed in close to the shore. The site was absolutely loaded with birds and again a Crab Plover was seen in with the Bar-tailed Godwits. This site will, hopefully, become a regular site for Crab Plover in the Eastern Province. There were litterally hundreds of both Greater and Lesser Sand Plover as well as a couple Grey Plover and three Spotted Redshank.

Small groups of up to seven Crab Plover were seen north of Ras Tanajib during a wader survey in the spring from 12th April until 28th May 1991. Other groups of up to five birds were seen during the same survey period at Abu Ali and Batinah Islands near Jubail and Rahimah near Ras Tanurah all north of Dhahran. Tim Blackburn mentioned that he had seen four Crab Plovers on the Farasan Islands on a brief visit in March. Handbook of Birds of the World says that the Farasan Islands hold one of the 2 or 3 breeding colonies in Saudi, the others being Al Wajh bank and (possibly) Qishran Bay. All these sites are on the Red Sea side of Saudi Arabia with the Gulf coast side also holding a few breeding sites but none in Saudi Arabia. The nearest site is Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates where two offshore islands hold breeding birds and Ummal Karam in Iran where up to 1500 pairs bred in the 1970's but no recent surveys have been carried out to see if the situation remains the same.
 Crab Plover
 Crab Plover
Crab Plover

 Bar-tailed Godwit
 Greater Sand Plover
 Greater Sand Plover
Saunder's Tern (adult and juvenile)

Birds seen included:-
Curlew Sandpiper - 200+
Little Stint - 100+
Lesser Sand Plover - 200+
Greater Sand Plover - 200+
Kentish Plover - 20+
Grey Plover - 2 (one adult in summer plumage)
Crab Plover - 1
Broad-billed Sandpiper - 8+
Terek Sandpiper - 30+
Ruddy Turnstone - 2
Bar-tailed Godwit - 100+
Black-tailed Godwit - 2
Common Greenshank - 20
Common Redshank - 66
Spotted Redshank - 3
Eurasian Curlew - 75
Whimbrel 25+
Saunder's Tern - 6
White-cheeked Tern - 7
Gull-billed Tern - 4
Lesser Crested Tern - 8
Swift Tern - 2
Slender-billed Gull - 8
Indian (Western) Reef Heron - 12