02 May 2013

An influx of waders – Dhahran Hills

The last few days on the camp we have seen an increase in the numbers of waders present. The spring has been relatively quiet for wading birds but recently we had 48 Wood Sandpipers, 25 Little Stints, six Black-winged Stilts, three Little Stints, two Kentish Plovers two Common Ringed Plovers, two Common Sandpipers, a Terek Sandpiper, a Common Snipe and a Curlew Sandpiper. The Curlew Sandpiper was an adult coming into breeding plumage and was the first one I have seen on the ‘patch’ this year.
Common Sandpiper
Other bird numbers are gradually decreasing although a reasonable number still remain. Shrikes are still in evidence with at least ten Red-backed Shrikes and three Lesser Grey Shrikes. It is the best year for both of these species since I have been in Saudi Arabia and some of them have allowed reasonably close approach.
Red-backed Shrike
Lesser Grey Shrike
Red-throated Pipits still remain in good numbers but only three Yellow Wagtails were seen, two beema and one thunbergi. Sand Martins also appear to have moved through, but there are still a few Pallid Swifts and Barn Swallows. Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters and European Bee-eaters are still about in good numbers, although Willow Warbler and Whinchat numbers have dropped significantly. Hopefully the heavy rain up country will bring a few birds down our way, we will have to wait and see.
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater