31 August 2014

Two Red-necked Phalaropes - Sabkhat Al Fasl

Phil and I went to Sabkhat Al Fasl as normal on Friday and arrived at site at 06:00 hrs just as it was getting light. The weather conditions were not ideal with high humidity and plenty of mist. As a result we went to the main sabkha area first giving the sun a chance to burn off the list and allow better conditions for photography. We saw plenty of waders including thousands of Little Stints, several Greater and Lesser Sand Plovers and a few Marsh Sandpipers, Ruff, Common Redshank and Ruddy Turnstones. The best birds on the sabkha however were 50 Garganey, nine Greater Flamingos and two Red-necked Phalaropes. 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 site 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 in June a bird was seen on the main flooded sabkha, the same area where we had our two birds. The birds seen on Friday were very distant so the photo below was taken of two birds seen at the same site in May 2012.
Red-necked Phalaropes
Little Stint