Saturday, 28 January 2012


Some photos recently added to my web site.

African rock martin

Common kestrel

Steppe grey shrike




Friday, 27 January 2012

Ha'ir, Saudi Arabia

Today I did the same trip as yesterday with the hope of a few different birds.

The raptor roost at the KATSC Fish Project today held 98 black kite, another Saudi record count and a blackstart put in an appearance at Ha'ir rubbish tip.

Ha'ir pivot fields were much the same except a juvenile imperial eagle soared overhead. And for the first time since I arrived here in December I failed to add any new birds to by Saudi list, but I did get some nice photos especially of an obliging bluethroat.

Desert lark

Common kestrel


____________ HIGHLIGHTS ____________ 

1 White-crowned black wheatear

2 White-crowned black wheatear
1 Blackstart

98 Black kite

1 White-throated kingfisher

1 Imperial eagle
60 Northern lapwing
6 Bluethroat

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Ha'ir, Saudi Arabia

This morning I took a drive along the wadi between Dirab and Ha'ir and finished with a long walk around the Ha'ir pivot fields.

The two rubbish dumps in the wadi didn't hold much of note except a hoopoe, a couple of desert lark and a single adult white-crowned black wheatear. But trees and irrigation equipment around the KATC Fish Farm were teeming with 87 black kite still roosting in the early dawn light plus a juvenile eastern imperial eagle for good measure. The black kite count is the highest I've seen for Saudi Arabia.

Part of the black kite roost

As usual the pivots fields were hard work but I hiked across several of them and was rewarded with an almost adult male pallid harrier, two adult male marsh harrier, several desert wheatear, another juvenile eastern imperial eagle and a good count of 22 squacco heron by the pools.

Male desert wheatear

___________________ DAY LIST ___________________

1 Hoopoe
2 Desert lark

1 White-crowned black wheatear
2 Desert lark

87 Black kite
1 Eastern imperial eagle (juv)

1 Mallard
2 Coot
2 Little grebe
2 Common snipe
1 White-throated kingfisher
1 Common kingfisher
1 Black bush robin
1 Bluethroat
1 Black redstart
2 Chiffchaff
100 House sparrow

6 Grey heron
8 Purple heron
22 Squacco heron
1 Eastern imperial eagle (juv)
3 Marsh harrier (inc. 2 adult male)
1 Pallid harrier (sub-adult male)
4 Common kestrel
2 Coot
1 Moorhen
200 Northern lapwing
3 Common snipe
150 Eurasian collared dove
50 Laughing dove
3 Namaqua dove
8 Pallid swift
3 White-throated kingfisher
20 Green bee-eater
30 Crested lark
15 African rock martin
5 Tawny pipit
300 White wagtail
1 Citrine wagtail
20 White-cheeked bulbul
1 Black bush robin
7 Bluethroat
5 Stonechat
1 Isabelline wheatear
6 Desert wheatear
1 Southern grey shrike
1 Daurian shrike
1 Turkestan shrike
2 Brown-necked raven
35 Common myna
100 House sparrow

Saturday, 21 January 2012


Photos recently added to my photo web site.

Isabelline wheatear

Great grey shrike

Steppe eagle

Steppe eagle

Turkestan shrike

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Ha'ir, Saudi Arabia

I had another visit to Ha'ir via the wadi from Dirab and visited the rubbish dumps again and checked the trees by the fish farm for raptors.

The first dump held the juvenile white-crowned black wheatear but no sign of the parent birds. There were also two blackstart and a pair of brown-necked raven flew over. The fish farm trees again held black kite, this time three individuals. The second dump (nearer Old Ha'ir village) held two adult white-crowned black wheatear and a couple of desert lark.

I spent several hours hiking around Ha'ir pivot fields where the best bird was a common quail that I kicked up from the alfalfa. Raptors were accounted for by five common kestrel and two adult male marsh harrier. A single flock of 193 northern lapwing may be the highest count yet for central Saudi Arabia.

Painted lady

Southern grey shrike

Turkestan shrike

Dirab rubbish tip
1 White-crowned black wheatear
2 Blackstart
2 Brown-necked raven

Ha'ir rubbish tip
2 White-crowned black wheatear
2 Desert lark
2 Crested lark
2 Hoopoe
5 African rock martin

KASCT Fish Farm
3 Black kite

Ha'ir pivot fields
2 Marsh harrier
5 Common kestrel
1 Common quail
1 Common snipe
193 Northern lapwing
1 Isabelline wheatear
3 Desert wheatear
1 European stonechat
3 Southern grey shrike
2 Daurian shrike
2 Turkestan shrike
5 Tawny pipit
6 Skylark
1 Lesser short-toed lark

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Najran, Saudi Arabia

Najran didn't prove to be the mountain birding hotspot I had hoped. It was more of a dusty high desert plateau and birding was hard work in the fields around the town and at the dam which was almost totally devoid of birdlife. Ah well, Saudi Arabia is so underwatched that it takes some exploring to sort out the decent areas.

I arrived on Wednesday afternoon and had a short walk in the fields behind the Crown Hotel where I was staying and soon caught up with a male Ruppells weaver and a couple of African silverbill.

The next day I had a driver who took me up to the dam some 30 kms west of town on the Yemeni border. The area around the dam itself was practically devoid of birds save for a few african rock martin and some feral pigeon. There was no water behind the dam and only a small stream in front of it which held several blackstart and a single house bunting. Not long after arriving we were sent on our way by the police even though we had already been waved through a check point further down the road.

We stopped for a walk along the river as it wound its way under the first bridge back into town and picked up a few green sandpiper and two fan-tailed raven.

The next day I explored the fields behind the Crown Hotel in more depth and found nile valley sunbird, shining sunbird and african collared dove.

______________ FULL LIST______________

11 January - Najran
1 Ruppells weaver
2 African silverbill
1 Graceful prinia
10 House sparrow
4 White spectacled bulbul
2 Green bee-eater

12 January Najran Dam and Najran Fields
6 Sand partridge
6 Green sandpiper
10 Rock dove
20 Laughing dove
2 Ring-necked parakeet
2 White wagtail
2 Black bush robin
2 Isabelline wheatear
5 Crested lark
2 Kestrel
1 Arabain babbler
1 Shining sunbird
2 Fan'tailed raven
2 Common myna
2 Ruppells weaver
10 Green bee-eater
5 African rock martin
15 White spectacled bulbul
8 Blackstart
1 House bunting
25 House sparrow

13 January 2012 Najran Fields
1 Kestrel
20 Feral pigeon
20 Laughing dove
4 Namaqua dove
15 Ring-necked parakeet
20 Green bee-eater
6 Crested lark
1 Red-rumped swallow
2 African rock martin
1 Nile valley sunbird
2 Shining sunbird
2 White wagtail
20 White spectacled bulbul
1 Grey hypocolius
1Rufous bush robin
1 Black bush robin
1Black redstart
12 Graceful prinia
3 arabian babbler
2 Common myna
150 House sparrow

Sunday, 1 January 2012


 More photos recently added to my photography web site.

Chestnut-bellied sandgrouse

Daurian shrike

Desert finch

Desert wheatear

Desert wheatear

Steppe eagle

Steppe eagle

Steppe eagle