04 July 2014

Red-necked Phalaropes at Sabkhat Al Fasl – Bird records by Dave Kilmister

Dave Kilmister sent me an e-mail saying “I went to Sabkhat Al-Fasl on 28 June. It was quiet, interesting that the flamingos have stayed – I guess the large amount of water after the wet winter and the slowish start to summer has kept them here. The highlight for me was a trio of Red-necked Phalaropes along the powerline road. I didn’t see the lapwing though. There are still plenty of hatchling stilts and plovers running around”. Red-necked Phalarope is an uncommon bird in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, although Sabkhat Al Fasl is the best place in the Province to see them. They were regular at the iste in years gone by but have become increasingly scarce Last year there were three sightings in May, June and September. All three birds last year were seen on the same small pool but this year Dave saw them on the main flooded sabkha. Bundy’s ‘Birds of the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia’ published in October 1989 states that they are regular in varying numbers on marshy pools in spring but very scarce and irregular in autumn. Records are regular in Kuwait to the north but from the Eastern Province are limited with one record from March, scare in April and regular in May with the peak inland count being 150 birds at Abqaiq in May 1976. Summer records are rare so this June bird is noteworthy, although I also saw one in June last year at this site. The photo below was taken on the bird I saw in June last year.