04 August 2011

Juvenile Eurasian Spoonbill - Sabkhat Al Fasl

New birds in today on the 'patch' included two Gull-billed Tern and a Blue-cheeked Bee-eater. Otherwise only a few waders including six Little Stint, one Green Sandpiper, four Black-winged Stilt, thirty six Kentish Plover and eighteen Little Ringed Plover.

Early morning on 28th July Phil Roberts and I went to Sabkhat Al Fasl. It was extremely humid and as we drove to the site it became quite foggy. We continued on, however, and as we got there at 06:00 hrs the sun started to look like it might clear the fog. We tried to find an area where I had previously seen large numbers of waders but were not able to manage. Luck was on our side though as on the return from an area where neither of us had been before Phil saw a Eurasian Spoonbill in a manmade ditch at the side of the road. We stopped and got our camera gear ready but due to the humidity the cameras immediately fogged up due to the fact it was cool inside the car from the air conditioning and very warm and humid outside. This happened even though we were aware it may and had turned the AC off quite a while before we stopped. After acclimatising our cameras to the outside temperature we were able to get some quite good photographs of the bird. Eurasian Spoonbill is not a common bird in Eastern Saudi Arabia (see previous post on the subject) but this is the second time in two weekends that we have seen birds here. This individual is a juvenile and still has quite a small bill, so is presumably still quite young. Apart from the bill it has dark flight feathers indicating its age.