17 May 2014

Pharaoh Eagle Owl nest with young near Zulfi – Bird records by Mansur Al Fahad & Mahammed Al Farhood

Mansur Al Fahad has just sent me an e-mail saying that when he was in Zulfi in late March 2014, his cousin Mohammed Al Farhood called him and said he had seen a Pharaoh Eagle owl nest close to his camp north of our village which is located about 40 km northwest of Zulfi in the depth of Nfud  Althwairat.
The next day Mansur went there and after lunch he left the camp in Muhammad's car (4x4) and went to the nest. The nest was in a very rugged area with extensive, very similar looking sand dunes a so the location will be difficult to refind. To get there you need a skilled driver who knows the area and fortunately for Mansur his neighbour had these skills. When they arrived near the place they approached very slowly and saw a pair of adult birds. Mansur could barely shoot two Images from a distance, and then they flew off some distance. The nest was at the bottom of a shrub called locally Ather and known scientifically as Artemisia monosperma. It is a common shrub in deep sand in Dahna, central and northern Saudi Arabia. There were three chicks in the nest keeping very quiet, and around there were droppings that contain the bones of some rodents. I would like to thank Mansur for the details and kindly allowing me to use his excellent photos and Mansur would like to thank Mohammed for this assistance.