09 December 2014

Brambling at Al Hayer near Riyadh – Bird record by Ragu Shanbhogue

Ragu went birding in Riyadh on 5 December 2014 and went to the Al Hayer area, along the Riyadh river south of Riyadh. Here he photographed a number of birds and sent them to me for help with identification. One bird was a Brambling that is a vagrant to Saudi Arabia and a species I have not seen before in the country. There are very few records for the country that I can find with all from the Eastern Province with the exception of Ragu’s record from the Riyadh and central area. The birds of the Riyadh Region by Stagg 1994 does not mention the species for this region and I know of no other records since this time suggesting this may be a first for the area? In the Eastern Province Bundyin his Birds of the Eastrn Province suggested the species was a vagrant and mentioned the following records: One Khurais 14 November 1980, a male 30 kilometres east of Nayriyyah 1-2 December 1980, one Dhahran 19 November 1982 with two 14 December and one until 28 December 1982, three Hanidh 16 December 1982 and five Abqaiq 25 December 1982. Since this book has been published the only records I can find are two at Deffi Park 31 December 1994 with others on numerous occasions in Jubail throughout the winter months of 1991-1994