29 August 2015

Eurasian Scops Owl a new Saudi species for me – Dhahran Hills

Whilst coming out of my house at lunchtime on 26 August I flushed a small owl from under our hedge. The bird flew up and into our large tree that grows in the front of the house and although my binoculars were in the car I could still see the bird was a Scops Owl. We have two Scops Owls in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabian, European Scops Owl and Pallid Scops Owl. Both are seldom seen with Eurasian Scops Owl being an uncommon passage migrant and Pallid Scops Owl being a scarce passage migrant and winter visitor. I quickly got my binoculars, found the bird again and could see it was a Eurasian Scops Owl, but it was quite nervous and would not stay in one place for long. I got my camera but then could not relocate the bird so as I needed to go back to work I put the camera back in the house. Then on the way back out I saw the owl again in the same tree but had not time to try to photograph it. I could not see the bird again despite looking each, morning, evening and night for it but there is a small chance it may still be about. Eurasian Scops Owl was a new species for me in Saudi Arabia and thus for my 'patch' as well, a lucky sighting in my garden. As a result of the above I failed to photograph the bird so am using an excellent photo of the species taken in Saudi Arabia by Mansur Al Fahad, who kindly gave me permission to use the photo some time ago when he saw the species himself.