23 February 2014

White-tailed Lapwings a new ‘patch’ species – Dhahran Hills

On Saturday Phil gave me a call to say he had found three White-tailed Lapwings Vanellus leucurus on the flooded section of the spray fields. My plan to watch the girls swimming with the coaches was soon abandoned and I headed to the fields as this was a new species for me on the ‘patch’, although a not totally unexpected one. Luckily the birds were still in the same place and I got some reasonable views although the light was poor and the spray heads were spraying water make photographing the birds difficult. We decided to try to move to a new location to get the sun in abetter place but unfortunately a group of dog walkers allowed their dogs to chase the birds on the fields scaring them all into flight. I managed to stop the car and grab a couple of flight shots before the birds flew out of sight, although they appeared to be descending towards the percolation pond. We moved to the pond but there was no sign of the birds and so decided to go back to the spray fields to see if we could find them back where they had originally been. On the way back we passed a flooded area of tamerisk trees and the three birds were happily feeding around there. This allowed us a better opportunity to photograph them and they remained there until we left them in peace. All my bad thoughts about inconsiderate dog walkers who allow their dogs to chase birds disappeared and I was glad they had moved the birds to a better location. The birds appeared quite active but the relatively close approach they allowed suggested they might have been tiered migrants. This is only the second record I know of for the camp although there have been quite a few records for the Eastern Province.