05 May 2014

A few new species for the spring – Dhahran Hills

Spring migration still continues to be slow but at least a few new species are passing through at last. New species seen this year for me included my first Red-backed Shrike and a Whinchat both in the spray fields. Red-backed Shrikes normally appear at the start of April with this one almost a month later than normal. It appeared to be enjoying itself in the cool of the spray heads continually getting soaked by the spray. Another new species for the year for me in the trees in the spray field was Common Whitethroat. Unfortunately there have been no further sightings of the Fieldfare after the second day and the bird has probably moved on. The settling pond had six Wood Sandpipers with a seventh bird on the percolation pond along with a Terek Sandpiper. This is a very unusual bird for the camp and thus may be the same bird seen a week or so ago? A few European Rollers are also passing through now and I saw two together in the scrubby desert area on 30 April. Other migrants seen included Spotted Flycatcher, Thrush Nightingale, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, Willow Warbler, Barn Swallow and Yellow Wagtail. The Yellow Wagtail appeared to be a flava type that is probably the least common of the subspecies seen in the Eastern Province. Eurasian Hoopoe is common now but it is unclear if these are migrants or local breeding birds with the last good bird seen being a Western Osprey flying over and off in the late evening.
Eurasian Hoopoe
European Roller
Red-backed Shrike
Terek Sandpiper
Yellow Wagtail - flava type