23 June 2014

Summering Greater Spotted Eagle and more – Sabkhat Al Fasl

Whilst birding Sabkhat Al Fasl on 13 June we saw the summering second calendar year Greater Spotted Eagle again. It was in the same place where we have seen in the two previous weekends and looks set to spend the summer here. I have now seen Greater Spotted Eagles in every month of the year at this site, but they are mainly a winter visitor between September and April. Phil Roberts took a photo of it just as it was taking off from a post that shows the underwing nicely. Also still present was the Red-wattled Lapwing in the same place as the weekend before and a summer Western Cattle Egret. Apart from these tree very good records there was nothing else out of the ordinary although birding was still very enjoyable. Waders were about in good numbers with young Black-winged Stilts, Kentish Plovers and Little Ringed Plovers all seen in good numbers. Other birds seen with young included Purple Swamphens with young of various ages, with this being the only breeding site in Saudi Arabia for this species. The only migrants seen were two Barn Swallows and two Sand Martins. Common birds seen in good numbers included Eurasian Collared Doves, Graceful Prinias, Caspian Reed Warblers and Indian (Clamorous) Reed Warblers. The sabkha still had thousands of Greater Flamingos and plenty of Indian Reef Herons of various colours. The majority were white phase, with a few juvenile birds amongst the adults and a number of dark phase birds of various shades of grey from light grey to almost black. The only other obvious birds were plenty of White-cheeked Terns, Little Terns and two Eurasian Spoonbills.
Greater Spotted Eagle - 2nd calendar year (courtesy Phil Roberts)
Black-winged Stilt - juvenile
Kentish Plover
Kentish Plover - feigning injury
Little Ringed Plover
Eurasian Collared Dove
Purple Swamphen
Indian Reef Heron - juvenile pale phase
Indian Reef Heron - dark phase