05 January 2024

Western Barn Owl – Dhahran Waste Water Lake

Whilst birdwatching the Waste Water Lake in Dhahran on 23 December 2023, I saw a Western Barn Owl siting on the ground near a small pool of water. Luckily as I came around a large bush I saw the bird, before it saw me, and although I was only a few metres from the bird I got a few photos before it took off and flew into the reeds. The photos are all full frame as I could not move back to get better composition before the bird flew. This is a new species for me on my ‘patch’ although Phil has seen one before at the Hobby Farm before I arrived in Saudi Arabia. Western Barn Owl has a very large range and is widespread across the Americas, Africa, Europe, India, Southeast Asia and Australasia. In Saudi Arabian it is an uncommon breeding resident but a species that is seldom seen. It occurs widely throughout the Saudi Arabia mainly near villages with adjacent crops or rough areas, including large towns with suitable hunting areas. I have seen the species previously in Saudi Arabia but not in the Eastern Province where I live although records have occurred in the last few years in the Al Hassa area.