09 December 2019

Striated Heron in Al Khobar – Bird Records by Paul Watson

Paul Watson found a Striated Heron along the seafront of Al Khobar near the Bahrain Causeway on 3 November 2019. This is a rare but increasing species in the Eastern Province. Striated Heron is a common breeding resident on the coasts of the Red Sea but is rare in the northern part of the Arabian Gulf including the Eastern Province. Eastern Province records include one remarkable inland record of a bird at Sabkha 40 on 30 May 2010 in the huge desert of the Empty Quarter. This is a species usually associated with the coast of Arabia and had never been recorded this far inland before and was the first record for eastern Saudi Arabia. It would have had to be a migrant, but its position at Shaybah raises the interesting possibility that it had travelled across eastern Arabia from the Arabian Sea en-route to the Arabian Gulf. Other Eastern Province records, were one in Al Fanateer marina, Jubail on 15 February 2014 and one on 7 June 2015 at Sabkhat Al Fasl, Jubail plus one 12 February 2016 along Dammam Seafront and another at Jubail farm in 2018. The increase in records in recent years shows that birds are spreading northwards and may soon be a regular feature of the Eastern Province avifauna. I thank Paul for kindly allowing me to use his photo of the bird on my website.
Striated Heron