14 January 2013

Cold Weather - Dhahran Hills

Cold weather reached Dhahran on Thursday night with temperatures in the early morning down to 6 degrees Celsius. This caused a bit of a change of activity for many of the local birds with Rock Doves fluffing up their feathers to keep warm rather than panting to loose heat. It also attracted a large number of Black-headed Gulls and Large White-headed Gulls (LWHG) to the percolation pond. These birds spent some time in the early morning bathing prior to flying off to their feeding grounds. Most of the LWHG were Steppe Gulls (85%) with Heuglin’s Gulls 13% and Caspian Gull (2%). A few duck were also present on the pond with seven Gadwall, nine Mallard and a single Wigeon which is the first one I have seen for a few weeks. The cold weather has also coincided with an increase in numbers of Great Cormorants roosting at the pond where numbers have now reached 50 birds. This is well short of last year’s 2000 but an increase from the one or two that have been here for most of the winter. I am hoping the cold weather will bring in some more good birds from further north as Israel has had a very cold spell with lots of snow falling.
Rock Dove
Caspian Gull - adult winter
Steppe Gull - adult winter 
Great Cormorant