Viv Wilson from Tabuk in Western Saudi Arabia sent me the following very interesting information and great photographs of Griffon vultures, a species I have not seen in the Eastern Province of KSA or anywhere else in the country for that matter. His report is here along with some of his excellent photos that he has kindly allowed me to use on my website.

"I enjoyed an overnight stay in the desert on the 17th October with Paul ( Indiana) Hancock, his wife Anji Hancock, and Paul Chapman. A very enjoyable night sitiing around the campfire. A cloudy night, mostly, so my astronomical viewing was limited. The next day on our desert travel's we came upon a Rock outcrop, which we have named, Vulture Rock. As Paul H tell's me, it is the first time he has seen that many Griffon Vultures, normally the birdlife is fairly scarce when they trip around the place. Anyway this Vulture, H59, was born sometime during 2010 and was originally caught in Gamla NR (Northern Israel) on 4th August 2012. It was seen again in the Judea Desert, near Masada, and trapped again in Negev Mt near Sde Boker on 10th September 2012 and now sighted by our group and photographed about midway between Tabuk and Sharma on 18th October 2012. I have been informed of other Griffon's in the area, but unfortunately, none were sighted on our last trip on 1st November 2012. Previously, we have sighted a lonely Egyptian Vulture in a similar area".

Photographs of birds taken by Viv look like there is another bird wing tagged with H58 which was tagged at the same time as H59 at Negev Mt near Sde Boker on 10th September 2012. This bird was born in 2011. I thank Ohad Hatzofe for the ringing/taging information on these birds.

The Griffon Vulture was a widespread resident visitor in western and south-west regions of Saudi Arabia but recently numbers have declined significantly and it now no longer breeds in many areas that it once did. It is also an occasional migrant and winter visitor to northern areas of the country with a few birds ringed in Israel occurring in Saudi Arabia. One is the bird mentioned above and a second was a bird fitted with a transmitter at Carmel Hills, north-west Israel in August 2002 that was subsequently tracked between Jeddah and Al Madinah. Yoav Perlman also informed me of two additional birds from Israel fitted with transmitters that are currently in northern Saudi Arabia.