11 February 2012

A few early migrants - Dhahran Hills

Yesterday at the 'patch' there were a few more migrants than previously but numbers are still low and only a trickle of birds are passing through. The spray fields still had three Corn Buntings, this time allowing much closer approach then previously, as well as 21 Eurasian Skylark, numbers of which are significantly up from the last week, probably as a result of the cold weather we have been having. Water Pipit numbers were also up with well over fifty birds seen in the long grass of the spray fields.
Corn Bunting

Birds seen at the edge of the spray fields included a single Isabelline Wheatear, two Lesser Whitethroats, two Song Thrushes, two Bluethroats and three Tawny Pipits. A few Water Pipits were feeding out in the open and I spent some time looking carefully at them in the hope of finding something different in amongst them. A large pipit flew over calling, which I am certain was a Richards Pipit, but as I have not seen the species in Saudi Arabia before I am not going to count it on my patch list. I am sure I will see one on the ground sometime.
Tawny Pipit

Large numbers of Pallid Swift were again catching insects over the pond, with more than two hundred birds in a flock but this time no other species were seen in amongst them. Two Common Chiffchaffs were in the trees at the edge of the pond with a single Bluethroat.
Pallid Swift

The pond held hundreds of gulls with 300+ Common Black-headed Gulls, 106 Steppe Gulls, 21 Caspian Gulls and two Hueglin's Gulls. The Great Crested Grebes were displaying to each other and six Eurasian Coots were still present.
Black-headed Gull (second calendar year)