08 November 2020

Nine Sociable Lapwings – Qarat Al Ulya

On 30 October 2020, Phil Roberts and I set out from Dhahran early to visit the pivot irrigation fields near Qarat Al Ulya to the north of Dhahran. As we had seen eleven Sociable Lapwings at Haradh a couple of weeks previously we hoped we may be able to locate some here. This area has never had Sociable Lapwings before unlike Haradh where Phil and I found wintering birds in 2016 and every year since. We spent the entire day looking around fields the area and towards the end of the day came to a short grassy field with 44 Northern Lapwing present. On scanning the field I saw a bird that resembled Sociable Lapwing in its general colour but it was a long way away and viewing into the sun. On driving around the field I found some more birds that on counting turned into nine. The birds kept to the middle of the field but were always in a group, sometimes joining the Northern Lapwings feeding. We will return later in the winter to try to establish if the birds are wintering at this location or were passing through. It is becoming obvious the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia is becoming an important passage and wintering area for this critically endangered species.