14 December 2013

Eastern Black Redstart – Al Khafah

Phil and I went to some extensive palm groves in a little village called Al Khafah near Nairyah looking for Hypocolius a species I am yet to see in Saudi Arabia. We had no luck with the Hypocolius but found a nice Eastern Black Redstart in the palm plantation. The bird was calling continuously with another calling nearby and although quite difficult to see I managed a single photograph of the bird where it can be seen in is an Eastern Black Redstart a species that is not commonly seen by us. This was in fact Phil’s first record for the Eastern Province and I have only seen then twice in Dhahran. Phil did, however, find another one in Dhahran the next day. The species is regarded as an uncommon migrant and winter visitor most areas of Saudi Arabia that is a common winter visitor to the western mountains of Hejaz and Asir. Most records are of the eastern race Eastern Black Redstart P. o. phoenicuroides although Western Black Redstart also occurs in very small numbers.
Eastern Black Redstart
 Other birds seen included a female Desert Wheatear, two Siberian Stonechats and a very late Quail flushed from the rank grass growing under some palms. A Eurasian Sparrowhawk flushed all the roosting doves from the plantation at one stage but very little else was seen.
Desert Wheatear - female