03 October 2012

Little Crake - Sabkhat Al Fasl

Whilst at Sabkhat Al Fasl on Thursday I found a juvenile Little Crake feeding along the edge of the reeds. Eventually after waiting some time the bird came out into the open and gave good views before returning to the reeds and disappearing. The species is seldom recorded in the Eastern Province although I suspect it is an uncommon migrant through the region. This year has been exceptional for the species with up to five present daily in Dhahran Hills during the spring. I have only seen one at Sabkaht Al Fasl before and it was also an immature in autumn, but I am sure records are more common at the site but the extensive reed beds makes it very difficult to locate the species.
Little Crake is a scarce but regularly recorded passage migrant in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, mainly in marshy areas or pools overhung by vegetation. Birds generally occur during spring migration from February to end of April with peak numbers in March where up to five birds were present in Dhahran Saudi Aramco Camp in the wet areas by the percolation pond in February and March 2012. Birds occur during autumn migration from September to October with the grassy irrigated areas of Haradh being the best place to locate the species where surprisingly high numbers have been located. A few birds have wintered at Abqaiq and Al-Uyan and an immature was at Sabkhat Al Fasl (Jubail) on 24th November 2011.