01 October 2022

Black-tailed Godwits – Jubail

Whilst birding the Jubail in September I saw two Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa on the edge of the flooded sabkha. These two birds allowed me to drive very close to them and they did not seem at all disturbed by my presence, something that has never happened to me before. As a result, I managed to take a few nice photos of the birds feeding. I left the birds in place and returned an hour or so later and saw one bird sitting on the mud. Again, it allowed very close approach and I wondered if it was sick. I got out of the car with my camera and walked close to the bird thinking I may be able to pick it up and see what was wrong with it. I got to about two meters from the bird when it suddenly flew off, scaring me in the process. As I had my camera I managed to take a couple of flight shots which are shown below. Nothing appeared to be wrong with the bird which was a very nice surprise and it flew off strongly and out of sight. The species is a scarce migrant and winter visitor to all areas of Saudi Arabia. Birds of the Riyadh Region (Stagg 1994) says the species is an autumn passage migrant and winter visitor in variable numbers that passes from late August through to April. Winter birds are present between late December and early March. Birds of the Eastern Province (Bundy 1989) says the species is a winter visitor to the Eastern Province that is scarce and irregular away from Dammam. Birds have been seen in all months but mainly between August to June with most being seen in Tarout Bay. Birds of the Tihamah coastal plains in the southwest of the Kingdom says the species is locally abundant where it is seen both inland and on the coast.