16 April 2014

Plenty of Warblers – Dhahran Hills

The ‘patch’ was alive with warblers on 12 April with birds flitting around everywhere. The majority were Barred Warblers, although good numbers of Eurasian Reed Warblers, Eurasian Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Lesser Whitethroats were seen. Most birds had either gone to ground or dispersed by 09:00 hrs, showing that it is important to get out early in the migration season. I am not sure I saw a Eurasian Blackcap in Saudi Arabia last year, and certainly did not on the camp so to see so many already this spring is encouraging. Despite looking very hard at all the warblers present I could not locate anything unusual although I did see one unusual Lesser Whitethroat that does not look like a typical Lesser Whitethroat, Desert Whitethroat, Central Asian Whitethroat or Hume’s Whitethroat. The type of Lesser Whitethroat this is, is a mystery to me and may well be from an overlap (hybrid) zone? It looks most like a Hume’s type but does not appear dark enough or large enough in the field. The striking feature of this bird is it has a uniformly coloured head and mantle and also has what appears to be a long thin bill and dark eye. There is still plenty to learn about the Lesser Whitethroats that pass through the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.
Barred Warbler
Eurasian Blackcap - female
Eurasian Blackcap - male
Willow Warbler
Central Asian Lesser Whitethroat