14 December 2015

Black-necked Grebes back for winter – Sabkhat Al Fasl

Whilst birding at Sabkhat Al Fasl on 4 December Phil Roberts and I found five Black-necked Grebes, just after I had said it was about time we saw our first ones for the winter. Two were in different places on the main flooded sabkha area near the power station with three others on the opposite side of the main pylon track on a large pool. All were in winter plumage as would be expected at this time of year. The Black-necked Grebe is an uncommon but regular visitor to the Eastern Province from late August through March but becomes scarce in April and May and rare in the summer. It is usually local in coastal waters but counts of over 40 are not unusual in Half Moon Bay. Small numbers occur inland and elsewhere in Saudi Arabia, away from the Eastern Province, birds have occurred in Riyadh, Tabuk and the Red Sea, as well as in the Jizan region.