28 April 2013

Two Black-winged Pratincoles still present – Dhahran Hills

The two Black-winged Pratincoles found three days ago are still present on the same muddy edge to a wet area on the spray fields. Today, although the weather was cloudy and overcast, I managed to get a few slightly better photos of them. They allow quite close approach, even on foot, and it is a pity the weather is not better. They do not fly very often, and we do not want to disturb them, so flight shots are not so good. Black-winged Pratincole is classed as a scarce passage migrant to the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia but there are very few records with about ten in Bundy’s ‘Birds of the Eastern Province (1989)’ and I only know of one other record of a bird seen in spring at Sabkhat Al Fasl. Birds of the Western Palearctic states ‘Migrates from breeding grounds (south-west Asia, south-east Europe) to African tropics on broad front across Iran, Iraq, Turkey (only marginally extending to Balkans), and northern Arabia, but very few passage observations anywhere in the Middle East, and it is assumed these often arid areas are crossed at high-altitude in unbroken flight’. Birds presumably are seen after inclement weather or if the birds become tired on their journey.