14 November 2013

Jack Snipe – Dhahran Hills

Whilst birding the ‘patch’ yesterday I came across a Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus. This is an unusual but annual occurrence in the area but normally they are flushed from the long grass of the wet spray fields in mid-winter. This bird was pretending to be a bit of grass in a small patch of cover by the side of a wet ditch next to the wet fields in Dhahran Hills. It remained in place until I was quite close allowing me to take photographs of this species for the first time in Saudi Arabia before it flew a short distance and landed back in the ditch where I left it in peace, as I did not want to frighten it again. The Jack Snipe is a winter visitor to the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia where it is scarce in marshy areas away from the coast from early September to early April. In the rest of Saudi Arabia it has been recorded most frequently in the Riyadh and Tabuk area and rarely in the Tihamah in the south-west.