13 October 2022

Black-necked Grebes back for winter – Jubail

Whilst birding the Jubail in late September I saw came across five Black-necked Grebes. The birds were feeding on a large area of flooded sabkha, initially at some idstnace. I then located two birds slightly closer to the shore in better light and positioned myself with the light behind in the hope they would come closer. Over the next hour the birds moved quite close, and the below photos were taken, but as the sun was very strong they are not as good as they could have been if I located them earlier in the morning with better light. The Black-necked Grebe is an uncommon but regular visitor to the Eastern Province from late August (normally November) through till March becoming scarce in April and May and rare in the summer. It is usually local in coastal waters, but Phil Roberts and I found the largest ever gathering of this species for the Kingdom at Uqair in November 2020 where over 500 birds were counted in the Arabian Gulf. Numbers of fifty or more have been recorded in the Half Moon Bay area, 50 kilometres north off this record in the 1980’s. Another large group was 192 birds at Dawmat Al Jandal Lake, inland in Jouf Province in the northwest of the Kingdom in January 2019.