10 Oct 2012

A new 'Patch' species - Dhahran Hills

Birding over the last week on the ‘patch’ has been relatively quiet but new birds have been appearing daily to keep the interest going. The best birds seen have been two Common Kestrels, four Temminck’s Stints, one Green Sandpiper, two Squacco Herons, 23 Western Cattle Egrets, one Daurian Shrike, one Isabelline Wheatear, two Spotted Flycatchers, 25+ Barn Swallows and 20+ Yellow Wagtails coming into roost in the reeds at the percolation pond. The best bird of all, however, was seen on 8th October and was a Baillon’s Crake. I found the bird whilst walking along the edge of the pond with Phil, who luckily also saw it and it was a new species for Dhahran for both of us. I have not seen Baillon’s Crake in Saudi Arabia before, whereas Phil saw one a few years ago in the spring at Sabkhat Al Fasl. This bird gave reasonable views, albeit slightly obscured by the reeds, as it was walking about in the open on some floating vegetation before becoming frightened and running into the reeds not to be seen again. As it was close to dusk I was not able to photograph the bird, in fact the camera was in the car and I was on foot which did not help! Baillon’s Crake is scarcer than Little Crake and is a scarce passage migrant seen in March and from August to October. As with Little Crake this species is probably overlooked as it is very skulking in nature but is obviously not common as it has been seen so rarely.

Common Snipe
Common Snipe
Temminck's Stint

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