31 October 2013

Eastern Mourning Wheatear new ‘patch’ species – Dhahran Hills

The Eastern Mourning Wheatear is an uncommon winter visitor to the deserts and rock outcrops of Central Arabia and the Gulf. In the Eastern Province it is normally seen around rock outcrops along the edge of the Shedgum escarpment and in northern jebel areas such as Jebel Nayriyyah. I have not seen one in Dhahran before and am not sure if anyone has seen one previously? It is not too surprising that one has occurred and but was behaving typically by spending all its time on the rocks and boulders, flying between them as is typical. Hopefully the bird will stay bout all winter in this area. This was a new species for the ‘patch’ and was my 199 species. What was most surprising about getting a new species is the fact it has been so quiet for migrants recently, but it shows if you stick at it you can turn u something interesting. This is what local patch birding is all about and gives me a lot more pleasure than seeing a new species in Saudi Arabia as a whole, although obviously this is also very enjoyable. The bird was only seen last thing in the evening on the way back from the spray fields across the scrubby desert area, so the photo is not very good due to poor light, handholding the big 600mm lens and distance from the bird, as I was on foot.