31 August 2013

Al Kaseer Lake, Zulfi – Bird records by Mansur Al Fahad

Mansur Al Fahad went birding at Al Kaseer Lake over the last two weeks and found some interesting birds. Zulfi in north central Saudi Arabia is his home town which has good birding habitat. One issue is the lack of open water available to bird-watch although there is a water purification plant (to be used in the irrigation of public parks) that contains four large lakes, but unfortunately does not allow entry without permission. A sewage treatment plant is located in the north which again does not allow entry. Luckily the torrential rains of the night of 11 April 2103 produced enough water to fill Al- Kaseer Lake (20 km north-east of Zulfi) which is a huge lake when full. The lake is accessed easily by paved road from Zulfi, and is on the main Zulfi – Hafar al Batin road east of the city of Zulfi (route 60). The turning to the lake is located next to the equestrian field and is on the left hand side. Drive up this road for 12 kilometres and the lake can be seen some distance to the east (right).
Collared Pratincole
Broad-billed Sandpiper
Black-winged Stilt
Common Sandpiper
Pied Avocets
Common Ringed Plover
Terek Sandpiper

The lake has extensive muddy edges, although this causes a problem when taking photographs. Another problem is many people come in the morning and breakfast near the water or come in the afternoon for tea and stay a make dinner, which makes the birds is very cautious. Mansur saw a good number of waders of many different species with an inland Broad-billed Sandpiper being slightly unusual. Other good birds seen were a flock of Pied Avocets and Collared Pratincole with other waders including Common Ringed Plover, Ruff, Dunlin, Little Stint, Black-winged Stilt, Common Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper and Terek Sandpiper. Two species of tern were also present in the form of Gull-billed Tern and White-winged Tern. The below photographs are a sample of what Mansur saw and are taken with his 600mm Canon ISII lens and 1.4x converter. I thank him for allowing me permission to reproduce his excellent photographs the copyright of which remains with Mansur.
White-winged Tern
Gull-billed Tern