16 May 2013

lutea Yellow Wagtail – Dhahran Hills

Although the number of Yellow Wagtails has dropped off considerably over the last week or so from 50+ birds to just five, one of them is a quite bright adult male lutea Yellow-headed Wagtail. It was feeding around the muddy edges of the settling pond for a couple of days. I had only seen one Yellow-headed Wagtail in Dhahran prior to this year, but this year I have seen eight different birds. I am still to see one of the really bright birds with little or no green no the crown clearly making it a lutea but have seen a number of males like the one in the photograph. These birds are lutea on range but are very similar to the UK race of Yellow Wagtail flavissima.
lutea Yellow Wagtail (Yellow-headed Wagtail)
lutea Yellow Wagtail (Yellow-headed Wagtail)
 Other interesting birds included a Sedge Warbler, one Lesser Grey Shrike, two immature Purple Herons and an Upcher’s Warbler in the spray fields. Six Little Stints, one Little Ringed Plover and three Kentish Plovers were feeding along the edge of the settling pond, with the Little Stints all in a small group in the shallow water. A couple of other good birds for the ‘patch’ were seen this week with a fly over female Golden Oriole by the percolation pond and a Gull-billed Tern flying over the pond with two Little Terns. Both Golden Oriole and Gull-billed Tern were new for the year for me in Dhahran but not for Saudi Arabia, as I have seen many of both species at Sabkhat Al Fasl during the winter and spring.
Purple Heron - immature
Little Stints