02 July 2012

Cream-coloued Courser a new patch tick - Dhahran Hillls

On the 30th June I went out birding the 'patch' as I do every day. I was not expecting too much as the temperatures have been very high and I have not seen too much over the last few weeks. On the way to the settling pond I drive along a nicely manicured grass embankment that I always have a look at to see if anything interesting has settled there. As I was scanning the grass a couple of heads appeared from the desert area behind and much to my surprise as well as delight they turned out to be two Cream-coloured Coursers. This species has been seen in Dhahran previously but I have not seen any before and none have been seen whilst I have been living here either. Adrian Drummond-Hill also saw seven together on the military airfield next to the camp the year before I arrived. Like many birds that find the camp they did not stay long and after walking off into the desert they were not seen again. They have amazing camouflage with their colour against the local sad and disappear from sight very easily. Finding new birds on the area that I bird daily is the ultimate reward for me for all the time and effort I put into birding the local area. Although not a new species for Saudi Arabia it has more value and it is experiences like this that make birding so enjoyable.
Cream-coloured Courser
Cream-coloured Courser
Namaqua Dove (adult female)
Namaqua Dove (adult male)

I then went to the settling pond which is not empty of water and so also empty of birds and then to the percolation pond. Here there were a few migrant Barn Swallows and 54 Black-winged Stilts that were mainly juvenile birds. The only other birds of note were two pairs of Namaqua Doves one pair of which gave excellent views and hundreds on Common Mynas that are forming small flocks in various parts of the camp.
Common Myna