12 September 2023

Whimbrel with pale underwing – Dhahran Hills

I visit to the cricket and football fields in Aramco Dhahran compound in early September, which resulted in at least four Whimbrel being seen. This is not a common visitor to the camp so I tried to get a few photos of the birds hoping one may be a Steppe Whimbrel. One of the birds had a pale underwing but was unfortunately not a Steppe Whimbrel but rather one of the more confusing forms of Eurasian Whimbrel. It was a non-breeding bird which is about to complete its moult. It is probably a second calendar year bird, as they do a long moult which is very variable in progress and can sometimes look quite peculiar and different as a result. Birds like this which are moulting their axillaries are particularly tricky. I am still hoping one day to locate a Steppe Whimbrel, but it may take a long time and some significant luck.