19 June 2012

Greater Sand Plover – Dhahran Hills

A trip to the percolation pond yesterday evening produced a few good birds with the best being a Greater Sand Plover. This is only the second time I have seen this species on my local patch with the first one I recorded being in August 2011. The bird is probably an early returning migrant and was seen on the muddy shoreline of the pond. It was disturbed by something and flew and landed on the floating platform (the one not being used by the nesting Black-winged Stilt), where it stayed for an hour or more until it got dark. Greater Sand Plovers are common on the coast but scarce inland and they have only just started to return to the coast after the breeding season. Also with the Greater Sand Plover were a single male Kentish Plover and a single Little Ringed Plover, which are probably local breeding birds.
Greater Sand Plover

A few other good birds were seen over the pond including two Blue cheeked Bee-eaters, two Barn Swallows and a Sand Martin. A walk around the area produced few birds as the temperature is now very hot but both Laughing Dove and Namaqua Dove were seen in good numbers and a single Masked Shrike was catching insects and beetles from the fence surrounding the pond. This is a different bird to the one I saw a week or so ago and a species I did not see in the summer at all last year. Clamorous Reed Warblers are singing from the tall reeds still and a couple of Reed Warblers were seen in the reeds as well. This species has not be confirmed as breeding in Dhahran but, hopefully, this year I will see adults feeding young or something similar to confirm the fact they breed here.

Laughing Dove