8 Oct 2021

Amazing migration – Az Zulfi

From September 23 – 25, we had an amazing number of migrants in and around some parks in Az Zulfi. Phil Roberts and I spent three days in Zulfi over the Saudi National Day weekend with Graham Gordon. It was amazing birding with hundreds of migrants in the parks and gardens. I have not seen numbers like this ever before and certainly not in Saudi Arabia. These numbers have not been recorded in Az Zulfi either as far as I am aware. In one park alone we saw 75+ Common Whitethroat, 20 Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Barred Warbler, 5 Great Reed Warbler, 5 Reed Warbler, 2 Garden Warbler, 5 Wryneck, 3 Masked Shrike, 3 Rufous Scrub Robin, 3 Black Scrub Robin, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, Spotted Crake, Black Redstart and Eastern Orphean all jumping about on the grass lawns or in the trees, but mainly on the lawns. In a nearby park were smaller numbers of Common Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Menetries’s Warbler, Blue-rock Thrush, Red-backed Shrike, Great Grey Shrike, 40 European Bee-eaters and six Spur-winged Lapwing. On 25 September about 50% of the birds had moved on but still tens of birds were present, with numbers of Lesser Whitethroat increasing despite most species departing overnight. It was incredible birding and will be back in the spring to see what other migrants could be seen. The parks were well watered and relatively quiet first thing in the morning, allowing birds to feed freely under the tress and in the grass. 

Spotted Crake

Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin

Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin

Lesser Whitethroat

Lesser Whitethroat

Eurasian Wryneck

Eurasian Wryneck

Eurasian Wryneck

Common Whitethroat

Common Whitethroat

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