30 July 2014

Greater Spotted Eagle – Sabkhat Al Fasl

Sabkhat Al Fasl is the best place in the Eastern Province for seeing Greater Spotted Eagles. Birds generally arrive in September and stay through until the end of March with more than ten individuals wintering in most recent years. This winter has been relatively poor with a maximum count of five birds but last weekend we saw four Greater Spotted Eagles in the air together and three other birds seen elsewhere. The birds in flight showed really well circling around over our heads and allowing some close photos to be taken. The birds are generally first year birds, first calendar year until 1 January and then second calendar year, but some older birds are also present. The photos below show second calendar year birds with well marked underparts and some older birds with less marked belly. Greater Spotted Eagle is listed as Vulnerable on the Red Species list and is not easy to see in many parts of its range. Luckily for us in the east of Saudi Arabia it is almost guaranteed on a visit to Sabkhat Al Fasl in the winter.