Friday, 3 February 2012

Al Jouf province, Saudi Arabia

I spent the weekend at Dawmat Al Jandal and Sakaka in Al Jouf province in northern Saudi Arabia taking photos of castles and other historic monuments and more can be seen on my travel blog. But I managed to fit in some birding too.

I first had a walk around one of the irrigated pivot fields just outside Sakaka and soon picked up a new Saudi tick in four red-throated pipits there was also good numbers of skylark present. I also had long distance views of a flock of 12 cream-coloured courser.

Desert warbler

Next I looked around the date plantations within the Sakaka city boundaries but the only bird of note was a black redstart.

Dawmat Al Jandal lake

There is a huge lake just outside Dawmat Al Jandal and I decided to take a walk of some five miles around the perimeter. The most common bird on the lake was coot but there were also several pochard and tufted duck. The only raptor I saw was a juvenile pallid harrier that glided in off the lake.

Desert lark

Hirundine and swift flocks appeared over the lake at several points, a couple of barn swallow and a single house martin were the highlights among the pallid swifts. Along the rocky shore I found several desert lark, desert wheatear and desert warbler and a single hoopoe lark.

_____________  FULL LIST _____________

2 February, Sakaka Pivot Fields
12 Cream-coloured courser
60 Skylark
30 Crested lark
4 Desert wheatear
4 Red-throated pipit
30 Spanish sparrow

2 February, Sakaka date plantation
1 Black redstart

3 February, Dawmat Al Jandal Lake
90 Coot
3 Tufted duck
3 Pochard
2 Little grebe
1 Kentish plover
12 Ringed plover
4 Redshank
1 Green sandpiper
1 Pallid harrier
3 Desert warbler
5 Desert wheatear
2 Mourning wheatear
1 Hoopoe lark

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