29 November 2017

Northern Lapwing in Dhahran Hills – Bird record by Paul Watson

Paul Watson sent me an e-mail kindly informing me of a Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus present on a bit of grassland in Dhahran Hills. I had not seen the species before on my local patch but was unable to look for the bird until the next day when luckily it was still present in the same area. It lingered for over a week until late November as Mats Ris also alerted me to the birds presence a few days later. Northern Lapwings have been seen at least once whilst I have been on the camp but I was away and did not see it so this was a nice addition to my local patch list. The Birds of the Eastern Province 1989 mentioned Northern Lapwing were a scarce and somewhat irregular visitor with records from November to early April but chiefly from November through January.  In 1979-71 up to 15 wintered in Dhahran but this proved to be exceptional, showing how large this flock was. Elsewhere in Saudi Arabia, high counts have been at 425 at Haradh 5 February 2016, at Al Safi Dairy farm, Central Province, where at least 111 individuals were seen 25 January 2001. Birds of Thumamah 1988-1994 said maximum numbers were 100 in the winter 1992/1993. Its status in the Kingdom is as an uncommon winter visitor to all areas north of a line from Hofuf, through Riyadh to Hail. Small flocks of birds have been seen this November at a couple of sites near Jubail with the largest count being 26.
Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus