19 February 2014

Eurasian Bittern again at Tabuk – Bird records by Viv Wilson

Viv was out and about birding his local area of Tabuk again last weekend and saw and photographed a number of good birds. Probably the best of them was a Eurasian Bittern a species that is a scarce winter visitor and passage migrant to Saudi Arabia but is almost certainly under recorded due to its secretive nature. Viv has already seen and photographed the species in Saudi Arabia, having seen one at Tabuk Wetlands 25 October 2013. Most records have been from the northern parts of the country as well as the southwest, with a few from the Eastern Province. Rob Tovey a Saudi Arabian birder, who travels extensively in search of his birds and who has been to the majority of the countries good birding spots, has also seen the species on two occasions in the last few years suggesting they occur in small number each winter. I have failed to find any in my areas of the Eastern Province and I bird the best wetland in the region, so presumably they are not common in the Eastern Province at least where Bundy et al Birds of the Eastern Province 1989 records them as a vagrant.
Eurasian Bittern
Eurasian Bittern

Eurasian Hoopoe
Western Marsh Harrier
Common Kestrel
Red-Spotted Bluethroat

Viv also saw some more common birds of the North-west of the country with Black Kite, Common Kestrel, Western Marsh Harrier, Water Rail, Eurasian Hoopoe and Red-spotted bluethroat of the svecica subspecies from northern Eurasia.