13 May 2013

Collared Pratincoles – Dhahran Hills

A trip to the ‘patch’ produced my first Collared Pratincoles of the year in Dhahran. Although I have seen quite a few at Sabkhat Al Fasl this spring I had yet to see one in the camp. This changed as I found two birds sitting at the edge of the spray fields in exactly the same place that I had seen them in the two previous springs I have been in Saudi Arabia. The birds allowed close approach and at one stage one bird flew and landed right outside the car window allowing very close photographs to be taken of it. The birds did not stay long and soon flew off and I could not locate them again. The photos below are of the two different birds seen.
Collared Pratincole
Collared Pratincole
The spray fields had a few shrikes including 10+ Red-backed Shrikes and one Lesser Grey Shrike as well as a Purple Heron.  The settling pond had four Kentish Plovers, two Little Stints, one Little Ringed Plover and three Black-winged Stilts. 200+ Sand Martins and several Barn Swallows were flying around the pond catching insects with hundreds more Sand Martins passing through.
Lesser Grey Shrike
Red-backed Shrike
Black-winged Stilt
 The percolation pond had two Little Terns and a Squacco Heron but very little else. A European Turtle Dove was the best bird seen around the edge, although there were a few Spotted Flycatchers and three Eastern Olivaceous Warblers in the bushes.
European Turtle Dove