27 February 2012

Regained Access - Dammam – Al Khobar Wader Roost South

Yesterday I went to the Dammam – Al Khobar Wader Roost South which is the best site for looking for waders in the local area as far as I am aware. The last time I went all the access points to the site had been blocked off as they are about to start building new building in the area. Luckily I have found a new access to this site and was able to check the roost site again, and as the tide was very high many of the waders were on the newly flatted ground behind the sea wall. There were quite a few waders about with most being Dunlin and Little Stint, with well over 150 of each. 50+ Lesser Sand Plovers and similar numbers of Greater Sand Plovers were seen as well, both in much larger numbers than I have seen in recent weeks. A few birds were feeding on the exposed mud and these included six Terek Sandpipers, 25 Common Greenshank, 15 Common Redshank, 35 Eurasian Curlew and 12 Eurasian Whimbrel.
 Greater Sand Plover
Terek Sandpiper

There was a big flock of Gulls roosting on the newly flatted land but unfortunately before I got there a truck frightened them all away. I could see they were mainly Steppe Gulls (100+), with smaller numbers of Caspian Gull (20+) and even smaller numbers of Heuglin’s Gulls (10+). I will go back to this site in the next few days at high tide to try to locate these birds on the ground and try to get some photographs of them as well as continue my learning curve on the identification of them all. Apart from the waders & gulls there were a few terns flying about and loafing on the exposed sand. Most of the birds that were flying where Gull-billed Terns (11) but at least 32 Lesser Crested Terns were also present sitting amongst a large flock of Common Black-headed Gulls.
Gull-billed Tern

On the way out of the site I flushed a bird with a lot of white in the wing as it flew and as it appeared to land in some nearby bushes I stopped to find out what it was. I relocated the bird sitting on a single bush and it turned out to be a Woodchat Shrike which is an early migrant through the area. This particular bird was not in the fine plumage of some of the ones that turn up in the ara at this time of year.
Woodchat Shrike