16 August 2013

Sabya Waste Water Lagoons

In the morning of 2 July we went to the Sabya Waste Water Lagoons east of Sabya (17 10.513N, 42 48.129E). This wastewater facility has seven or eight pools that are all easily worked and the birds are relatively confident as the road is used by trucks to dump the waste water, so the birds are used to traffic. Mike Jennings found a number of Greater Painted Snipe here in July 2010, a new species for Saudi Arabia, and speculated these birds may be breeding here. The birds were seen again in March 2013 by Lou Regenmorter and again in May 2013 by Lou, Rob Tovey and Mansur Al Fahad this time with young, proving breeding for the first time in Arabia. We went to the site to look for the birds but found it relatively difficult as the temperature and humidity were high making it less than pleasant to be outside birding. We failed to find the Greater Painted Snipe on the lagoon where Lou and Rob had seen them but located a pair on a nearby lagoon after a few hours of searching.
Greater Painted Snipe
We also located a few other good birds at this site including 20+ Squacco Herons, one Grey Heron, 20+ Spur-winged Lapwings, 10+ breeding Black-winged Stilts two Green Sandpipers and four Common Sandpipers. Other water birds included 10+ Glossy Ibis and 50+ Western Cattle Egrets that appeared to be breeding in the flooded trees on the site. Five Whiskered Terns were hawking insects over the lagoons that had plenty of Common Moorhen on them and five Green Bee-eaters were perched in the bushes by the side of the lake with 50+ Ruppell’s Weavers. Three African Palm Swifts and three Barn Swallows were seen in the air over the site and other birds seen included five Crested Larks, five White-spectacled Bulbuls, three African Collared Doves, ten Laughing Doves and five Namaqua Doves.
African Palm Swift
Glossy Ibis & Western Cattle Egret
Glossy Ibis
Green Bee-eater
Spur-winged Plover
Western Cattle Egret