29 June 2014

Adult Black-crowned Night Heron – Dhahran Hills

I went out birding on the ‘patch’ at first light 04:00 hrs on 28 June in the hope of seeing the Crested Honey Buzzards that have been around for the last three weeks. Unfortunately they did not show and so I went to my normal area of the spray fields and the ponds. When I got to the percolation pond I found an adult Black-crowned Night Heron fishing at the pond edge very close to the track. Unfortunately the bird was directly into the sun making photography very difficult and it flew before I was able to get into a better position. I have seen Black-crowned Night Heron on a couple of occasions in Dhahran but only in September and October previously, with both adults and juveniles seen. The last ones I saw were two years ago so this was a very pleasant surprise showing that birding in the summer when nothing appears o be about still turns up surprises. As far as I am aware there has only been one summer record of the species in the Eastern Province. The Black-crowned Night heron is an uncommon migrant in the eastern province noted more often in autumn than spring. Juveniles occur from September through November and sometimes into February. Spring occurrences are irregular from April to May and there has been one June record and an immature present at Abqaiq from 22 July to 22 August 1983.