27 January 2014

Pied Kingfisher at Al Fanateer (Jubail) – Bird record by Chris Vowles

Chris Vowles is a birder who recently returned to the Kingdom and who is working north of Jubail in the Eastern Province. He sent me an e-mail on 24 January saying he had found a Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis at Al Fanateer Marina, opposite Al Fanateer Mall in Jubail city centre. The marina is a small place on the corniche and has a few boats tied up but not much else and is right next to Pizza Hut and the Yacht Restaurant with easy parking all around.  Pied Kingfisher is a scarce winter visitor to Saudi Arabia with most records from the Eastern Province. On 25 February 1999 there were six birds present at Sabkhat Al Fasl (Jubail) and an inland record of one at an old disused dairy farm at Thumamah 14-22 October 1999. A record from the north-west of Saudi Arabia was one at Lake Yanbu al Medina 14 April 1999. A few singles have been seen since then often at Sabkhat Al Fasl but it remains a rare/scarce bird for the country and a good bird to find. They mainly occur in coastal creeks and wetlands so one in a built up area marina was a surprise. Chris kindly sent me his record and a heavily cropped photo he took with a small pocket camera that shows the bird against a boat in the marina, which he has allowed me to reproduce below.