12 May 2013

Garden Warbler new ‘patch’ species – Dhahran Hills

Whilst birding the ‘patch’ on Friday morning I saw an interesting warbler very briefly in the spray fields that gave me the impression it was a Garden Warbler. Unfortunately almost as soon as I saw the bird it flew off and disappeared. There had been a big ‘fall’ of birds and plenty of Common Whitethroats were about and given the brief views I could not be 100% certain of the its identification. I then met Phil and told him about the possible Garden Warbler. As a result we went to the area of the spray fields where I had seen the bird and fortunately relocated it with a couple of Common Whitethroats where I managed to get a couple of relatively distant photographs. This was a new species for Phil and I on the ‘Patch’ taking my total to 196 and was also a new species for Saudi Arabia for us both as well. Whilst watching the first bird, a second Garden Warbler joined it, and at times they were seen side by side with a Common Whitethroat.

Garden Warbler Sylvia borin is an uncommon migrant to all areas of Saudi Arabia from late April until May and again from September to October. It is recorded less frequently in the Eastern Province, where it is regarded as scarce, although their drab nature makes them easy to overlook so are probably more common than records suggest. In nearby Kuwait they are regarded as an uncommon passage migrant and rare winter visitor being seen in small numbers, on bushes and trees, in widely scattered areas throughout the country. To the south in the United Arab Emirates they are regarded as an uncommon migrant from April to May and September to October with two November records. In Bahrain it is an uncommon passage migrant from April to May and September to October.