19 December 2011

Saihat Mangroves - Location Details

Saihat Mangroves are an excellent place for large numbers of waders, herons and Flamingos. Kingfishers have also been seen here in the past. To get to the site drive to Saihat from Dhahran on King Faisal Street. Turn right onto 15th Street in Saihat and the left onto Dhahran Street. This will lead you to the enclosed water area on your right. Turn right just before this and then left onto the spit cutting off the enclosed water area. At the end of this spit the mangroves are on the right. There are also some clumps in the sea off the spit which are good for large concentrations of waders.

Mangroves in Saudi Arabia are represented by a single species, Avicennia marina, commonly called Grey Mangrove, which are salt tolerant trees found from the mean high tide level down to the mid eulittoral. The mangroves in the Gulf are poorly developed compared to their counterparts in the Red Sea because of the cold winter temperatures. They provide food and shelter to many small invertebrates, including commercially important shrimp and act as a nursery for many species of young fish. This in turn attracts many birds including Herons, Flamingos and Wading birds. The mangrove stands occur only as patches at sheltered sites on waterlogged, soft anaerobic mud. The mangrove roots are only able to survive by means of pneumatophores which project above the ground and conduct oxygen to the buried portions of the root system. Mangroves have a limited occurrence and can be found only in restricted small stands. The Northern most limits in Saudi Arabia are just north of Jubail which are one of the most northerly mangrove occurrences in the world. The southerly limit in Saudi Arabia is just to the west of Dammam port. The linear extent of the mangroves is estimated at 12 km of the Saudi Arabian Gulf coastline.

Specialty species found at the site include:
Pied Kingfisher
White-throated Kingfisher
Greater Flamingo
European Golden Plover
Eurasian Oystercatcher
Indian Reef Heron
Lesser Crested Tern
White-cheeked Tern
Caspian Tern
Little Bittern