13 November 2012

Winter birds starting to appear – Dhahran Hills

Winter bird species are starting to appear in good numbers and will soon be replacing many of the migrant birds that are currently around. Winter species such as Western Cattle Egrets are building up in numbers with birds seen feeding along the grass verges in small groups and larger numbers roosting in the reed beds of the percolation pond. Squacco Heron, although resident in the area, only really appears on the percolation pond in winter when they are often seen in ones and twos feeding along the edge of the pond. Recently two birds have taken to fishing out in the open which is quite unusual for Dhahran. White Wagtails have now arrived with the general pattern for the Eastern Province being birds arriving in mid-September and departing by April. The pattern of shrikes is little understood and it is difficult to work out if Daurian Shrike winters in the area or is a late autumn and early spring migrant? It appears from my previous two winters that a small number of mainly immature birds winter in the Dhahran area. There are still a few shrikes about of both Turkestan and Daurian types presumably migrants. Desert Wheatear is another winter visitor that generally appears in October and stays until March, normally in the scrubby desert areas where Pied Wheatears also occur in reasonable numbers. Good numbers of duck can also been seen occasionally on the percolation pond, mainly in the early morning or late evening, with the pond very occasionally covered with birds.
Western Cattle Egret
Squacco Heron