16 June 2023

White-cheeked Terns - Jubail

Whilst in the Jubail area recently I came across good numbers of White-cheeked Tern Sterna repressa. This is a common breeding summer visitor to the Gulf and Red Sea coast north to Jeddah. Birds start occurring in April and by June there are very large numbers as this is the start of their breeding season. Birds are often seen sitting around on the ground but on this occasion I only saw birds flying around, some catching fish. White-cheeked Tern juveniles occur from late July and August and some remaining until October. Winter records are rare in the Eastern Province, although they have been seen occasionally. Birds breed offshore Jubail on small islands and use wetland areas of Jubail as feeding areas. It is not easy to get photos with light showing in the eyes as their plumage is grey, black and white, but birds do come close along the open water areas so close up shots are possible. In June many birds also form groups sitting on sandbanks and feed on some water outflows so close up photography becomes easier.