10 March 2012

Finsch's Wheatear & close Woodchat Shrike - Dhahran Hills

I have been busy at work the last couple of days so have only managed to get out for a short while in the evening on one occasions but it turned out to be a good evening. I went to the pond to look at the wet pools by the edge but the water level in the pond was again very high and the wet pools at the side of the pond had become lakes. This seemed to put off the Crakec, or maybe they have moved off?, but I still got really good views of a Spotted Crake but it spent most of its time under the bushes not allowing photography. I then went to the other side of the pond to check the wet pool there and although I did not see any crakes I got extremely close views of a male Woodchat Shrike. The bird was sitting in a thorn bush in the middle of the wet pool and allowed me to creep up to the very edge of the pool before flying off to catch a beetle. It then again allowed me to get extremely close and take a few photographs.
 Woodchat Shrike (male)

As I was photographing the Woodchat Shrike I saw a Greater Spotted Eagle fly over and land in a tree to the side of the pond. This is the first one I have seen in Dhahran this spring and was a nice surprise. I had a late evening meeting at work so had to leave before it was dark, but as I was driving back I flushed a male Finsch's Wheatear. It gave excellent views but the light was too poor for photography. This is the first Finsch's Wheatear I have seen in Saudi Arabia and a good new species for the 'patch'.
Greater Spotted Eagle