29 August 2014

A good days birding - Sabkhat Al Fasl

A good days birding was had at Sabkaht Al Fasl last Friday with a scattering of migrants and the highest ever Saudi Arabian count of Egyptian Nightjars (see previous post). A flock of 20 Garganey flew over, along with three Northern Shoveller, but the commonest migrants were Barn Swallows and Sand Martins with tens of each. Small groups of European Bee-eaters passed over most of the morning and two Great Reed Warblers were also seen at the edge of the reed beds and nearby scrub. The majority of birds seen were herons and waders with good numbers of Squacco Heron, Grey Heron and Indian Reef Heron and a group of eleven Eurasian Spoonbills, a very large group for the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. Waders included 2000+ Black-winged Stilts, 1000+ Kentish Plovers, 1000+ Little Stints and 100+ Curlew Sandpipers. Lesser numbers of Common Ringed Plovers, Greater Sand Plovers, Lesser Sand Plovers, Marsh Sandpipers, Little Ringed Plovers and Dunlin were seen as were a single Temminck’s Stint, one Pied Avocet and one juvenile Collared Pratincole. A single Sanderling was also seen a new species for the site for both Phil and I along with large numbers of Little Terns, Caspian Terns and Gull-billed Terns. A good return of scarce and unusual species were seen making it a very good days birding especially as it is only mid-August.
European Bee-eater
Great Reed Warbler
Greater Sand Plover
Greater Sand Plover
Pied Avocet
Caspian Tern