05 November 2012

Abha Dam Lake – Abha

I had a couple of quick looks at Abha Lake as it was easily viewable from the terrace at the fifth floor restaurant of our hotel the Abha Palace Hotel. The lake had a few good birds including one new Saudi Arabian species for me Hammerkop. I also saw six Black-crowned Night Herons and one Grey Heron. Other birds on the lake included Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot and Little Grebe. Both Pale Crag Martin and Eurasian Crag Martin were seen flying about with one Little Swift and Barn Swallows were also regular over the lake. A single Western Marsh Harrier was also seen flying over the reed beds on one occasion. The lake has been developed on one side to make room for an amusement park but there are still quite extensive water and reed beds, and the area is relatively undisturbed as it is difficult to get to the water edge. 

The Hammerkop occurs mainly in Africa south of the Sahara & Madagascar but also occurs in south-west Arabia from the lowlands to the top of Mount Soudah at almost 3000 metres above sea level. In Saudi Arabia they occur in wetland habitats including irrigated land, lakes and wadies are of the sub-species Scopus unbretta umbretta. I was unable to get any photographs at the lake so have posted a photo below of a Hammerkop by the Lilac-breasted Roller which is free to reproduce and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.