02 March 2022

Great Black-headed Gulls & more – Al Asfar Lake

Whilst birding Al Asfar Lake near Al Hassa on 25 February we found three Great Black-headed Gulls on a wetland area. Two were adults in full summer plumage with the third bird an immature. The Great Black-headed Gull is an uncommon winter visitor to the Arabian Gulf and southern Red Sea coastal areas that is also rarely seen inland including at wetland sites like Dhahran and Al Asfar Lake. The first birds are normally not seen until December or January, with March probably the best time to see the species. A few migrants were located including Greater Short-toed Larks and Turkestan Shrike, but most birds were still wintering species including Great Grey and Durian Shrikes, Caspian Stonechat, Greater Spotted Eagle and 40+ Western Marsh Harrier. A Spur-winged Plover was present and plenty of Pallid Swifts were flying around the area. A large number of Graceful Prinia hufufae were singing and showing well.

Great Black-headed Gulls

Great Black-headed Gull

Graceful Prinia

Caspian Stonechat

Daurian Shrike