13 May 2014

Golden Orioles at KFUPM – Bird records by Lorna Mackenzie

Lorna Mackenzie updated me the other day on the fact that the Eurasian Golden Orioles were still about and she had been watching them every day. The morning after she saw the big flock she located them from their song. “They are so strangely reminiscent of home as their song is like an echo of part of a Blackbird's song, and in flight they look very like Thrushes. Anyway, I think there may be at least a few dozen of them still present 10 May 2014 and there can easily be ten to twenty at a time feeding on one tree on the little figs”. Lorna has seen them flying to-and-fro a bit between KFUPM and Dhahran Saudi Aramco Camp but unfortunately as I do not bird this part of the camp I have yet to see them.  Lorna took her husband's camera out and tried to get a few shots of them. It's a good camera for his use, mainly architectural features and landscape shots, but although it has a decent zoom lens it has a terrible viewfinder so for something like birding it's generally a case of point-at-the-blob-of-colour and shoot. Lorna sent me a few photos of the birds and has kindly allowed me to use them here and which are shown below.

Apart for the Eurasian Golden Orioles Lorna has mentioned she is “very much enjoying the multitude of delicate little Warblers, the grey one I asked about is Upcher's, thanks for the tip, have been seeing them regularly. Having relaxed a bit about identifying each one I have been lucky to see a couple of those easier to identify among the many not, namely Blackcap, a lovely rufous female first and then male, and I saw Barred Warblers this morning, again a female first and then the male with his startlingly bright yellow eye; both firsts for me. Still lots of Spotted Flycatchers and a good few Red-backed Shrike around, waves of Barn Swallows passing through some days, quite a few Swifts - I think both Common and Pallid, and another first for me in Whinchat”.