07 December 2013

Singing Bush Lark at Phil’s Fields near Sabya – Bird records by Phil Roberts

Phil visited Phil’s Fields, an excellent set of pivot irrigation fields near Sabya in the southwest of Saudi Arabia on 19 & 22 November. Phil and I found these fields in the summer when we made a trip to the area and they turned up some good birds including Small Buttonquail and Singing Bush Lark. Phil saw at least five more Singing Bush Larks this time and managed to get a good photograph of one singing from the pivot irrigation watering system. They are not easy to photograph on the ground with most photographs being of birds in flight. Singing Bush Lark is an uncommon resident of the extreme southwest of Saudi Arabia and does not occur anywhere else in the country. They are often common in the very local areas where they occur and apart from the area around Sabya birds have also been seen near Shuqayri, near Jizan and at Malaki Dam Lake where they frequent fields, often of maize or alfalfa. The sub-species that occurs in Saudi Arabia is Mirafra cantillans simplex. Phil very kindly sent me a photograph he took of the species, the copyright of which belongs to him and  which is shown below.