03 May 2012

First Red-backed Shrikes – Dhahran Hills

After a couple of very quiet days on the ‘patch’ yesterday was a bit livelier. I saw my first two Red-backed Shrikes of the year which turned up on exactly the same date as last year. One bird was a nice adult male in the spray fields and the second an adult female in the scrub beside the percolation pond. The pond had only one Kentish Plover, two Black-winged Stilts and one Common Sandpiper with the only other interesting fact being a pair of Little Grebes starting nest building. The spray fields had three Turkestan Shrikes, two Daurian Shrikes and a Lesser grey Shrike, but very little else.
Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin

Spotted Flycatcher

Little Ringed Plover

A walk around the percolation pond produced good views of an Upcher’s Warbler wagging and flicking its tail in its normal manner as well as a Barred Warbler. European Turtle Doves were seen in three different locations and Rufous-tailed Scrub Robins have at least two different territories this year in the same places where birds bred last year. Eurasian Hoopoe numbers are seeing a slight increase in recent days and Spotted Flycatcher numbers are significantly up with at least eight birds seen. The wet area outside the pond is drying up rapidly and will be gone in a couple of days but still had a single Spotted Crake, a Little Ringed Plover and a Wood Sandpiper. Barn Swallow, Pallid Swift and House Martin numbers were all around 25 for each species. The wire fence around the pond was still a good place to see European Bee-eaters as well as Spotted Flycathers, Turkestan Shrikes and Rufous-tailed Scrub Robins.
European Bee-eater

Turkestan Shrike