11 Mar 2020

Fifty Eurasian Siskin – Sarrar

Whilst birding the large pivot irrigation fields near Sarrar 6 March 2020 Phil Roberts and I came across about eight small birds feeding along the edge of the field in seeding plants. It became apparent quickly they were Eurasian Siskins but they soon flew up into the surrounding nearby trees and out of sight. As this was a new species for us both in Saudi Arabia, we were keen to try to obtain photos so got out of the car to try to relocate them. We could not see them in the tree but I saw them flying high over the field where they dropped down and joined a large group of feeding birds, mainly Spanish Sparrows. We walked across the field that was full of seeding plants and located the Eurasian Siskin again, enabling us to take some  photos the best of which are shown below. The birds were continually on the move but a combined count totaled approximately fifty birds with both males and females present in about equal numbers. The Eurasian Siskins  is a rare and sporadic winter visitor, mainly to the north and Eastern Province as far south as Dhahran. Most records have occurred during particularly harsh northern winters with all records between November and March. Birds normally occur in ones and twos but sometimes in flocks of up to 20 birds. The largest group recorded in the Kingdom was a group of 30-40 birds near Thumamah on 11 November 1993. Records have occurred in Riyadh area, Tabuk as well as the Eastern Province but the group we saw is the largest group ever recorded in the Kingdom. It is a vagrant to the Eastern Province with a flock seen in Dhahran 13 November 1959, two Dhahran 23 November 1974, seven Udhailiyah Camp 18 November 1981, six Shedgum 19 November 1981, three in Jubail on 7 April 1991 and up to thirty-six birds for most of 1993/4 winter in Jubail.
Eurasian Siskin

Eurasian Siskin

Eurasian Siskin

Eurasian Siskin

Eurasian Siskin

Eurasian Siskin

Eurasian Siskin

Eurasian Siskin

Eurasian Siskin

Eurasian Siskin

Eurasian Siskin

Eurasian Siskin


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