01 April 2013

Great Crested Grebe – Dhahran Hills

One Great Crested Grebe has been around on the percolation pond for most of the last six months at least. The species is still an uncommon visitor to the region but the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia is probably the best place in Arabia to see the species. I have seen a few birds at various different sites during the winter of 2012/2013 including Dhahran, Abu Ali Island, Khafrah Marsh, Dammam Al Khobar Wader Roost south and Ash Shargiyah Development Company Farm (Fadhili). Since 1980 the species has bred in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia in the Dhahran and Dammam areas at probably three different sites that are normally inland pools or treated effluent water sites. During the huge oil pollution in the Gulf, from the Gulf war, 2000 birds were found dead along the coast north of Dhahran towards Kuwait, showing how many birds go unrecorded wintering offshore in the Arabian Gulf. Hopefully this one will breed also as it is not too late in the season. It certainly looks in good plumage if a mate comes along.