23 November 2012

Plenty of Little Grebes – Dhahran Hills

Winter is certainly here now and the late rising and early setting sun make birding before and after work difficult as not enough time is available to do the sites justice. It is still worth having a look as anything can turn up in Dhahran and I am still finding the occasional new species, for me at least. The pond is the best area to check as it holds the most birds and they can be seen relatively easily, so if anything is present there, even in a short period of time, you have a chance of seeing it. The majority of birds seen on the pond at the moment are Little Grebes and Eurasian Coot, both of which had good breeding seasons this year. There were 25 Eurasian Coots and 31 Little Grebes present along with 20+ Common Moorhens. An early morning trip to the percolation pond resulted in a single Greater Spotted Eagle, 15 Mallards, two Northern Shoveller and a flock of 35+ Cattle Egrets flying out of the reeds where they had spent the night roosting. Mallard is a very shy bird here in Saudi Arabia and is always the first duck to take flight when disturbed, which is very different to those I am used to seeing in the UK where they are very tame and sometimes even take bread out of your hand. The spray fields have a few pipits in them now with Red-throated Pipit, Tawny Pipit and water Pipit all present and the occasional Bluethroat also being seen.
Little Grebe