03 January 2013

Birding the ‘Patch’ in 2012 – Dhahran Hills

In 2012 birding at the ‘patch’ I have done reasonably well I think and have recorded 160 species in total compared to 170 species in 2011. The 160 species seen including a number of rare or unusual birds such as Black Stork, Egyptian Nightjar, Short-toed Snake Eagle, Little Crake, Great Black-headed Gull, Black-winged Kite & Black-headed Bunting. Birding has been good on the whole, with spring migration starting very early this year compared to 2011 with the first migrants seen in January and numbers increasing through February with a peak in March and April when most species where recorded as well as the most number of birds. Spring migration was much slower and fewer birds recorded both in terms of numbers and species compared to 2011. Autumn migration was again much slower and more prolonged but again with some good birds seen including Spur-winged Lapwing, Red-breasted Flycatcher, good numbers of Greater Spotted Eagles and Citrine Wagtail. The below graph shows the number of different species seen on the ‘patch’ per calendar month to give an indication of which months are the best for birding out here. Part of the reason for the low numbers in winter are the days are short and evening birding is limited after work so time spent in the field is much lower than in the spring and summer months. Numbers in the summer months of June and July may be slightly higher than expected as I was able to go birding more often due to the longer days and the fact the family were on summer vacation. I have now recorded 185 species on the ‘patch’ in two years, which shows what can be seen in the area if you stick at it and spend the time in the field. Let us hope 2013 brings more good birds and my ‘patch’ list grows towards 200 species.