Jem Babbington

Jem Babbington

Jem Babbington is a keen birder and amateur photographer located in Dhahran, Eastern Saudi Arabia where he goes birding every day. Jem was born in England and is a serious local patch and local area birder who has been birding for almost forty years and has birded in more than fifty countries. Jem is learning to ring birds in Bahrain as a perfect way to learn more about the birds of the area. Saudi Arabia is a very much under-watched and under-recorded country.

Feb 122017
 
Eversmann’s Redstart - Jubail

Whilst birding at Jubail I found a female Eversmann’s Redstart, a new species for me. Birding up to that point had been rather poor due to the overcast and windy conditions but it was made up for with this bird. I noticed a redstart on the track between the large reed beds and it almost […]

Feb 082017
 
Birding the pivot fields – Haradh

The winter months are a good time to visit Haradh pivot irrigation fields as they hold a lot of good birds at this time of year. Large numbers of wintering Harriers, particularly Western Marsh Harrier and Pallid Harrier occur here and I saw well over thirty birds of both species during my visit. Another group […]

Feb 052017
 
Rare and unusual birds seen in Saudi Arabia in second half of 2016

A pair of Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus with two recently hatch young, 12 August, were the first record of breeding for the species in the Kingdom. An unprecedented influx of Eurasian Bittern Botaurus stellaris were seen with fifteen 30 kilometers east of Zulfi 8 November, six together 40 kilometers north of Zulfi 11 November and […]

Jan 272017
 
White-crowned Wheatear - Haradh

Phil Roberts and I found a juvenile White-crowned Wheatears Oenanthe leucopyga at Haradh on 13 January 2017. The bird was seen along a roadside with scattered rocks as well as fences to keep people away from the pivot irrigation fields. This species had not been recorded in this area previously according to Mike Jennings, but […]

Jan 252017
 
Sociable Lapwing wintering in Eastern Saudi Arabia - Haradh

On 13 January Phil Roberts and I travelled to Haradh an area of extensive pivot irrigation fields three hours drive from Dhahran. We were primarily looking to see if we could prove Sociable Lapwing wintered in the area as we had seen birds here in February 2016 but were uncertain if these were wintering birds […]

Jan 202017
 
Arabian Green Bee-eater

The Arabian Green Bee-eater is usually treated as conspecific with M. viridissimus and M. orientalis, but differs from both in its very short stub-ended central tail feathers; bright blue forehead, supercilium and throat, and bluer lower belly; broader, smudgier black breast-bar; marginally larger size and clearly longer tail (minus the tail extensions) than the other […]

Jan 192017
 
Arabian Magpie

The taxonomic position of Arabian Magpie Pica asirensis is certainly uncertain, although it is generally regarded as a subspecies of Eurasian Magpie. Gill & Donsker (2016) regard it as such, though there is a caveat “MtDNA phylogeny suggests that Eurasian Magpie comprises several potential species including Korean Magpie P. sericea, Mahgreb Magpie P. mauritanica and […]

Jan 142017
 
Yemen Linnet

Yemen Linnet Carduelis yemenensis is a common resident of the south-west highlands, frequenting weedy terraced fields, that have been harvested, where it was often seen in flocks of up to 200 birds. It has also been recorded on the Raydah escarpment along the Raydah Pipeline Road, Al Jarrah and Al Azah. In 1987 it was […]