21 June 2013

Common Black-headed Gull – Dhahran Hills

The Common Black-headed Gull is an abundant passage migrant and winter visitor but summer records of the species are scarce. I was thus quite surprised when I found one sitting in amongst the terns and waders on the percolation pond last night. The bird was an adult in quite worn plumage as is normal with any of the gulls that stay the summer in the region. This is the first time I have seen the species in June on the ‘patch’, which I am very pleased about (the photograph below is not the bird seen yesterday but one seen a month ago in the same place). The waders that were with the Common Black-headed Gull were 125 Black-winged Stilts, a significant increase in numbers over recent days and 30+ Kentish Plovers. The Little Tern numbers had also built up to 22 birds, easily the highest number I have seen on the ‘patch’. The only other interesting birds I saw were several Graceful Prinia singing from the reed stems and scrub next to the pond.
Black-headed Gull
Graceful Prinia
Graceful Prinia
The settling pond had three calling Clamorous Reed Warblers in the small reed bed there and 22 Black-winged Stilts and six Kentish Plover. A female Common Kestrel was sitting on the surrounding fence, which is the first time I have seen the species for several months. The great thing about doing a local ‘patch’ is that although I did not see any scarce or unusual birds I was very happy with my birding as I saw a Common Black-headed Gull for the first time in June, the largest group of Little Terns I have seen to date and the first Common Kestrel for several months. These birds would have meant significantly less if I had seen them away from my regular birding spot.