10 August 2012

Relatively few birds - Dammam / Al Khobar Wader Roosts

A trip to Dammam – Al Khobar Wader Roost at high tide produced relatively few birds. There were two House crows flying around disturbing the waders, which is the first time I have seen them at this site. The wader roost is only about five kilometres from Dammam Port Mangroves which is the best site for the House Crow that I know so they have probably spread from there? Wader numbers were low even though the tide was good with the most common species, apart from Black-winged Stilt being Ruddy Turnstone. The first returning birds were only seen three weeks ago but now numbers have built up to 50+ birds. Greater and Lesser Sand Plovers were present in very small numbers and five Common Greenshanks were feeding in the rising water.

Ruddy Turnstone

Greater Sand Plover

Greater Sand Plover

Greater Hoopoe-Lark

As numbers were so low I went to Dammam – Al Khobar Wader Roost south and here numbers were slightly higher. Larger waders use this site and Eurasian Curlew and Whimbrel numbers were both over 25 birds. A minimum of 40 Bar-tailed Godwits with a couple in full breeding plumage were present but this species always stays far from the shore. In amongst the Bar-tailed Godwits were three adult Crab Plovers and a single Eurasian Oystercatcher. Lesser Sand Plover numbers are building up with 100+ seen and 300+ Greater Sand Plovers with a very high count of 108 Terek Sandpipers. Numbers are building up slowly but, hopefully, over the next couple of weeks things should pick up. The only non-wader I saw, that was of any interest, was a Greater Hoopoe lark that was catching insects on the mud flats by running after them which was quite comical.