11 May 2014

Red-backed Shrikes at Sabkhat Al Fasl – Bird records by David Kilmister

Dave Kilmister sent me the following observations from his trip to Sabkhat Al Fasl at the weekend 0f 1-2 May after having read about the Red-backed Shrike arrival at my local patct. “There were huge numbers of Red-backed Shrike at Sabkhat Al-Fasl on Saturday. It seemed that every bush and patch of reeds held one. I probably saw close to 50 of them. We have had several here at Ras Al-Khair for the past two weeks. Also at Al-Fasl were thousands of Greater Flamingos, which was interesting as there was none two weeks ago. I haven’t seen a Yellow Wagtail for a while. There were very good numbers of waders and terns on the flats north of the power lines and towards the golf club. I noted 12 species of wader (Curlew Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Little Stint, Green Sandpiper, Pied Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, Kentish Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Common Ringed Plover, Greater Sand Plover (in breeding plumage), Ruddy Turnstone, Terek Sandpiper) plus Slender-billed Gull, a lone Steppe Gull, and Caspian, Little, White-cheeked, and White-winged Terns), plus the Indian Reef Egrets. Conditions were quite poor with first fog and then wind but it was a good day all up with 41 species noted. New for me was a Barred Warbler (plus I drove down to Abu ‘Aba to photograph my first European Bee-eater. I saw Cream-coloured Coursers near the beach here on Friday – a flock of about six with several juveniles in it”.
Red-backed Shrike - male
Kentish Plover
It appears there has been a big wave of Red-backed Shrikes moving through the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia in the last weeks with good numbers seen at a number of sites hundreds of kilometres apart.