06 June 2014

Great Cormorant in summer – Dhahran Hills

Whilst driving to work on 3 June I saw a Great Cormorant flying over the road and around the spray fields near the cricket pitch. This is an unusual record as the species is a winter visitor to Saudi Arabia and is the first time I have seen one inland in the camp. The species has a status as a common and sometimes abundant winter visitor in coastal waters from September through March. The percolation pond is a good area to see them, where they roost in trees around the pond in the late evening with up to 2000 birds seen there. A few immature birds have been noticed in the Eastern Province remaining through the summer, like this bird, but these have all been on the coast and not inland like this record. Birding a local ‘patch’ where you go almost everyday makes records like this interesting as although it would not appear to be anything unusual it clearly is as I have been birding this area for the last four years without a sighting, including all through the summer in all years I have been in Saudi Arabia.