31 May 2015

Two Red-necked Phalaropes at Sabkhat Al Fasl – Bird records by Phil Roberts

Phil went to Sabkhat Al Fasl a few days ago and found 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. 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. As shown they were regular in years gone by but have become increasingly scarce, although in the last three years birds have been seen each year. Three years ago there were three sightings in May, June and September and last year three birds were seen on the same small pool and last year in June a bird was seen on the main flooded sabkha, with two more in the same area in August. These are the first sightings this year that I know of. Phil kindly sent me a photograph of the birds and has allowed me to use them on my website. The birds look like a male and female with the female being the brighter plumaged bird in this species as the male spends most of the time sitting on the nest so has duller plumage.
Red-necked Phalarope