20 May 2023

Garden Warbler – Jubail

Whilst birding the Jubail area in mid-May I saw an interesting warbler very briefly in some small tamerisk bushes growing by the side of a flooded sabkha area. The bird was quite active but kept well hidden. I could see it was a plain relatively bulky warbler but was uncertain of its identity. After about five minutes the bird briefly came into view and I managed to get just a handful of photos before it disappeared back into the bush and they flew off far away to another set of tamerisk that was not possible to reach. The photos did not turn out too badly considering the bird was only in the open for a second or two and are my best efforts so far in Saudi Arabia of this species. Garden Warbler Sylvia borin is an uncommon migrant to all areas of Saudi Arabia from late April until May and again from September to October. It is recorded less frequently in the Eastern Province, where it is regarded as scarce, although their drab nature makes them easy to overlook so are probably more common than records suggest. In nearby Kuwait they are regarded as an uncommon passage migrant and rare winter visitor being seen in small numbers, on bushes and trees, in widely scattered areas throughout the country. To the south in the United Arab Emirates they are regarded as an uncommon migrant from April to May and September to October with two November records. In Bahrain it is an uncommon passage migrant from April to May and September to October.