09 June 2013

Adult female Red-necked Phalarope – Sabkhat Al Fasl

Whilst at Sabkhat Al Fasl yesterday I found another Red-necked Phalarope, this time a smart looking adult female. This is the second time I have seen the species at Sabkhat Al Fasl this spring/summer with the first sighting two male types 23 May. Unusually female Red-necked Phalaropes are brighter than males as the male sits on the eggs and is therefore duller in plumage. There are only a few species where this is the case and generally females have the duller plumage. All three birds have been on the same smallish flooded area by the water pumping station, although the water levels are falling fast here now. Bundy’s ‘Birds of the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia’ published in October 1989 states that they are regular in varying numbers on marshy pools in spring but very scarce and irregular in autumn. Records are regular in Kuwait to the north but from the Eastern Province are limited with one record from March, scare in April and regular in May with the peak inland count being 150 birds at Abqaiq in May 1976. Summer records are rare so this June bird is noteworthy. I managed to get a few better photographs this time than in May including one flight shot as the bird flew a short distance to stand on the mud rather than catching mosquitos as it had been doing previously.