09 March 2019

Three Egyptian Nightjars - Judah

Whilst driving off-road along the edge of a large wire fence towards our main birding location at Judah we flushed a bird off the sand track just as it was getting light. We did not see the bird well and flew off and over the fence and could not be seen again. We were hoping it may have been an owl but the brief views gave the impression of long wings so Eurasian Kestrel was mooted as a possible ID but left unknown due to poor views. Luckily a little further down the track we flushed another bird from the edge of the track and this time got views enough to tell it was a Nightjar. We saw the bird land behind the car and got out to make sure it was an Egyptian Nightjar and not the less regularly seen Eurasian Nightjar. We located the bird and got one poor photo before it flew again and off over the fence. A third bird was watched at close range hunting moths along the fence-line as the light became better. This is the first time we have seen the species in this location and a great start top the days birding. The species is an uncommon winter and also an uncommon summer (possible breeder) visitor. Egyptian Nightjars are now an easily seen species during the summer months in the Jubail area. Birds generally turn up in early June and depart in late September and are almost always associated with areas of water and reeds with associated small Tamerisk bushes. In winter birds are seen hunting in various locations often at the edge of large desert areas.
Egyptian Nightjar