22 February 2012

Six Adult Eusasian Spoonbills - Dammam Port Mangroves

A quick trip to Dammam Port Mangroves for yesterday’s high tide produced a couple of good birds. When I arrived at the port I saw three House Crows, which is not unusual as this is the best site close to Dhahran to see them. They have almost certainly arrived there on boats and now have a small breeding colony in the area. As I was walking down to where you can see the mangrove area as the tide is coming in I saw a couple of birds flitting around in the tall Tamrisk trees that grow along the bank. The first bird was very interesting and turned out to be an Eastern Orphean Warbler which is an early migrant and the first one I have seen since last spring. The other bird was a Common Chiffchaff and in fact there were three of them in the Tamarisk trees. These are again signs that the migration season is slowly getting underway, but as I did not have my camera with me, as this is a sensitive area, I did not get any photos of the Eastern Orphean Warbler. As the tide came in it pushed quite a few birds up through the mangroves to a place where I could see them and in amongst them were six adult Spoonbills. These birds stayed right at the very back of the open area and were not photographable but good views could be obtained through the telescope. This site is mainly good for the larger waders and 37 Whimbrels, 72 Eurasian Curlew, 108 Bar-tailed Godwit and 15 Grey Plover where packed tightly together at one edge of the sand bank in front of the mangroves. In amongst the large waders were six Caspian Terns and two Great Black-headed Gulls, one of which was in full summer plumage.
Caspian Terns

A few smaller waders were also present with six Terek Sandpipers, nine Common Greenshanks, 35 Common Redshanks, one Lesser Sand Plover and three Greater Sand Plovers. The only other birds of note that I saw were three Western Great Egrets, 50+ Indian Reef Herons, six Grey Herons and five Common Starlings.
 Common Greenshank & Common Redshank in flight
Greater Sand Plover