10 February 2013

Increase in Duck Numbers – Dhahran Hills

A couple of very early morning tips to the percolation pond have produced a growing number of duck in recent days. I am assuming this is the start of return migration for these birds? All duck in Saudi Arabia are very flighty and it is extremely difficult to get anywhere near them as they are shot at constantly when away from safe areas such as Dhahran Hills. Unfortunately for me the duck do not realize they are in a safe area on the pond and fly as soon as they see anyone or anything. As a result trying to get photographs of them is extremely difficult and this one is the best I have managed recently! Eurasian Wigeon numbers are now 15, but Eurasian Teal numbers have increased to +/-60. They are difficult to count accurately as many hide in the reeds. Other duck have included a pair of Mallard, seven Garganey including two really smart males, eight Gadwall that have been around for most of the winter, a flock of 13 Northern Shovellers, 11 Tufted Ducks, one Common Pochard and one Northern Pintail male. Six species of duck on the pond at the same time is very good but they do not stay very long as many of them fly off at the first disturbance. When you add to this the Ferruginous Ducks I saw earlier in the winter, to those mentioned above, then there have been ten species of duck on the pond this winter which is a larger number than I have seen in previous winters.
Tufted Ducks & Common Pochard
Tufted Duck & Eurasian Wigeon
Eurasian Wigeon (left) & Northern Pintail (right) - males
Eurasian Wigeon