11 June 2014

Juvenile Red-wattled Lapwing – Sabkhat Al Fasl

Whilst birding Sabkhat Al Fasl on 8 June 2014, I found a juvenile Red-wattled Lapwing. The bird was always into the sun and unfortunately a bus came by and scared it into flight, where it was mobbed by Black-winged Stilts, that had young nearby, and driven off. This is an interesting record as Lou and Brian found an adult at this site 15 February 2014 raising the possibility that birds may have bred at Sabkhat Al Fasl this year? As a result I asked Simon Price and Neil Morris from Qatar about their breeding birds and when they disperse. They mentioned their birds are still present with two adults and a juvenile and Simon sent me a photo showing the juvenile bird that appears to be quite a bit younger than the juvenile at Sabkhat Al Fasl. The birds in Qatar were hatched in the first week on May so the bird at Sabkhat Al Fasl must have hatched in April sometime but who knows where. As mentioned previously the species is scarce in Saudi Arabia with records from Riyadh, the Empty Quarter and the Eastern Province. This species is a resident breeder at wetlands in eastern Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait, and is gradually colonizing westwards. It would be great to think that the birds breeding to the north and south of us are trying to join up their breeding ranges, but so far it has not yet been recorded to breed in Saudi Arabia. In the Eastern province it is regarded as a scarce passage migrant and winter visitor and there have been fifteen records prior to this one of single birds from October to December (especially November), but also January, April and July. Birds have been seen at Nayriyyah in the north, three times at Haradh in the south with the last records being sixteen 24 November 1983, four times at Abqaiq and four times in Dhahran with the last record 13 December 1985. The most recent records for the Eastern province was an adult Lou and Brian found on a birding trip to the Eastern Province at Sabkhat Al Fasl 15 February 2014 and an adult at Dhahran 1 June2014