13 March 2012

Shrikes – Dhahran Hills

A walk around the spray fields produced a number of shrikes including two Woodchat Shrikes, one Turkestan Shrike and one Daurian Shrike. A single Isabelline Wheatear, one female Northern Wheatear and two male Black-eared Wheatears were seen at the edge of the spray fields with the Black-eared Wheatears being the first ones I have seen this spring. They are obviously moving through at the moment as records from the weekend have come from Riyadh and Jubail as well. Other birds seen in the spray fields included two Siberian Stonechats and six Tawny Pipits.

I made a quick trip to the percolation pond to see if any crakes were still about, but this resulted in failure to locate any birds. The pond itself held very few birds with the only things of note being the Great Crested Grebe, which, hopefully, will breed again this year after many years absence and a Squacco Heron. A group of 50+ Red-rumped Swallows and 50+ Pallid Swift were hawking insects over the pond and in amongst them were five Common House Martins and a Sand Martin. Walking around the pond produced a nice, but skulking, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, three Bluethroats and 20+ Common Chiffchaffs. One the way home as it was almost dark I got to within a few metres of a Steepe Grey Shrike, unfortunately there was no light left to photograph the bird wich was a shame as it was so close.
Roufous-tailed Scrub Robin
Squacco Heron