25 February 2012

Western Great Egret - Dhahran Hills

A trip to the 'patch' in the evening produced a number of good birds. The percolation pond was quiet when I arrived with only seven Eurasian Coot, one Great Crested Grebe, a few Common Black-headed Gulls and one Squacco Heron, which is the first Squacco I have seen this year in Dhahran. The large flock of Pallid Swifts and Red-rumped Swallows all appeared to have moved on and little was seen in the trees around the pond. As I was leaving a Western Marsh Harrier flew over and after looking along the edge of the pond flew over to the spray fields. I too went over there to see what was present as they were not spraying today. The Western Marsh Harrier was resting in the long grass and there were a few birds on the large pool that had been created by the amount of spraying that has been going on over the last week. On closer inspection there were six Water Pipits, seven White Wagtails and two Little Ringed Plovers. These are the first returning Little Ringed Plovers I have seen this spring and a good sign of things to come.
Little Ringed Plover

Other birds seen in the spray fields included seven Eurasian Skylarks, four Siberian Stonechats and 23 Water Pipits. I then went back to the pond to see if anything else had arrived and was surprised to see a Western Great Egret fly in and land. This is a regular but uncommon species for the 'patch' and are always good to see. Every time I see one I am amazed by how large they are. A single Grey Heron was also present with 65 Western Cattle Egrets that were coming in to roost.
 Western Cattle Egret roost
Western Cattle Egret