12 May 2014

Bird numbers increasing – Dhahran Hills

I have not been out as much as I would have liked the last week due to family commitments but managed a couple of evenings birding the ‘patch’. These proved very rewarding with plenty of birds even if the weather remained a little unsettled and overcast. The best bird seen was a Basra Reed Warbler in the long grass of the spray fields on 7 May along with a Great Reed Warbler, only the third time I have seen the species in Dhahran and the first time in the spring with the two other records in September. The most obvious and common birds were Red-backed Shrikes with well over twenty seen on the evening of 7 May. A flooded area of the spray fields had two Little Stints and a Wood Sandpiper with two Lesser Grey Shrike in the small bushes nearby, my first sightings of this species this year, although both Phil and Lorna who bird nearby had recorded them previously. Another bird that has become very common in recent days is the Spotted Flycatcher with more then 15 birds seen each evening. Other signs of migration were small numbers of both Sand Martin and Barn Swallow, a single Whinchat sitting exhausted on the ground and two Northern Wheatears. At least three Common Redstarts were flitting around in various places with 10+ Willow Warblers were doing likewise and a single calling Eastern Olivaceous Warbler was in the tress by the percolation pond. The pond had nothing of note except a Kentish Plover, Wood Sandpiper and Black-winged Stilt. The only other notable bird seen was a single Ortolan Bunting near to a pool left by one of the spray heads on the edge of the spray fields.
Lesser Grey Shrike
Red-backed Shrike
Red-backed Shrike
Red-backed Shrike
Spotted Flycatcher
Common Redstart - female
Ortolan Bunting