17 February 2013

Caspian Stonechat – Dhahran Hills

A Caspian Stonechat has been in the spray fields for the last few weeks and although it has been there for some time I have failed to get any decent shots of the bird. As the spray heads were turned completely off yesterday I managed to get a few photos of the bird that is very different to the other Common Stonechats present. Trying to photograph the white in the tail proved very difficult and hence the out of focus photo below. A few other good birds were seen in the spray fields including two Song Thrushes that are the first two I have seen this winter. This species is normally fairly regularly seen along the grass verges and in the spray fields during winter but this year they have been absent until now. A Common Quail was calling loudly from the long grass and four Eurasian Skylarks were flushed from the grass along with 10+ Water Pipits. An odd looking lark, only seen in flight, may have been something interesting but we were unable to relocate it even though we saw where it landed. Two Jack Snipe were also flushed from right underfoot, giving good views as they flew off and landed further in the fields. This is an uncommon bird in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, probably more so due to their secretive nature than their real status.