19 December 2012

Great Crested Grebe – Dhahran Hills

Whilst birding recently a regular interesting sight has been seeing a Great Crested Grebe on the percolation pond. The Great Crested Grebe is a regular but scarce visitor mainly in the winter between October and March. During November birds are regularly seen away from the coast and I have seen them at various locations around the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia including Taraut Bay, Khafji Marsh, Abu Ali Island and Dhahran Hills percolation pond. The first breeding attempt for the species in Saudi Arabia was on the percolation pond in April to May 1999 when a pair built several nests all of which were unsuccessful due to fluctuating water levels and casual recreational disturbance. Birds have been seen on the pond every year since and some stay well into the summer but no breeding has been noted whilst I have been in Dhahran. This year a pair of birds was present from January to March and a single from August until present whereas in 2011 a pair was seen in March only.