31 January 2017

Eversmann’s Redstart - Jubail

Whilst birding at Jubail I found a female Eversmann’s Redstart, a new species for me. Birding up to that point had been rather poor due to the overcast and windy conditions but it was made up for with this bird. I noticed a redstart on the track between the large reed beds and it almost immediately flew up into the reed bed but luckily stayed on the edge. Initially I could only see it through the windscreen of the car making views poor but it looked very interesting due to the pale panel in the closed wing. I moved the car slightly to get a view through the window and got a few photos of to look at when I got home but the combination of wing markings and covert edges made the identification as a female Eversmann’s Redstart look very positive. I have never seen this species and on checking details in books and photos on the internet combined with Yoav Perlman’s confirmation of my identification I was happy I had found a very good vagrant for Saudi Arabia as well as another new species for my Saudi Arabian list. This was the third new species I had found in ten days after Black-throated Thrush and Redwing.
The only records I know of for Saudi Arabia are as follows:
Five at Ras Tanurah in December 1970 until January 1971 - Eastern Province
One Haradh 31 January 1980 - Eastern Province
One Kurais 14 November 1980 - Eastern Province
One at Dhahran from 21 January to 28 February 1982 - Eastern Province
A male at Thumamah, Riyadh, in alfalfa fields 8 December 1990 to 11 January 1991 - Central Province
Two at Jubail near the Holiday Inn on 17 November 1991 one remaining until 19 November 1991 - Eastern Province.
A female was found on 27 January to 9 March 2000 at Thumamah - Central Province
Eversmann’s Redstart