Mar 222014
Wheatears returning – Dhahran Hills

Signs of migration have been increasing during the week with a few Blue Rock Thrushes and a nice male Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush seen. Other migrants have been several Common Quail calling from the spray fields as well as seven Red-rumped Swallows roosting in the reed bed on the settling pond. Daurian Shrike numbers are increasing […]

Dec 212013
Eastern Black Redstart – Al Khafah

Phil and I went to some extensive palm groves in a little village called Al Khafah near Nairyah looking for Hypocolius a species I am yet to see in Saudi Arabia. We had no luck with the Hypocolius but found a nice Eastern Black Redstart in the palm plantation. The bird was calling continuously with […]

Dec 022013
A late Blue-cheeked Bee-eater – Dhahran Hills

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater is a common passage migrant to the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia but the majority of autumn birds have passed through by late October. Rarely they stay into November and once I saw one at Sablhat Al Fasl in December. Whilst looking at the wet drainage ditch to see if any waders were […]

Jul 072013
Rubʿ al-Khali; The Empty Quarter

At the start of this year I visited the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and was fortunate to spend a few days at Shaybah in the northeastern edge of this, the world’s largest desert. This region is classified as ‘hyper-arid’ with typical rainfall of less than 30mm per year and is one of the driest regions […]

Mar 032013
Round up of Al Hayer in February

Last year I visited Al Hayer south of Riyadh almost weekly and it became what we birders call my local patch. This year I vowed to make trips more widely within Saudi Arabia and I have been doing so. However last weekend I returned to Al Hayer for the first time in over 6 weeks. […]

Feb 182013
A few bits and pieces in the UAE Part II

Ajban farms is a favorite site of mine , located between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It is a desert scrub area with large water lakes. Unfortunately the water is constantly being pumped into tankers for nearby constructions sites. Not sure how much longer there will be water there, once gone I am sure there will […]

Feb 082013
More from Zulfi

Today’s blog looks further at Mansur al Fahad’s visit to Zulfi last week. He tells me the birding is always good there and I can’t dispute that. As well as the pharaoh eagle owl and several steppe eagle featured in the last blog, there is much more to report on. For starters, Mansur managed to […]

Feb 052013
Vultures so close to Riyadh

On Thursday, after visiting the Kararah lake area, our birding party doubled back away towards Riyadh on the Mecca road before turning off north west. This was on route 505 according to the map but route 902 according to the road sign. This is an occupational hazard in Saudi Arabia, road sign numbers and map […]

Feb 022013
Kararah lake area

If you travel out of Riyadh on the Mecca road, its not too long, 30 kilometres or so, before you see brown recreational road signs to Kararah lake. Lou Regensmorter, first time birder George Darley-Doran, and I headed out that way on Thursday morning. Of course we knew the “lake” and the near-by “waterfall” would […]

Jan 152013
Five wheatears but not the right one

Last Friday, I went to “the edge of the world”. This is the name given to the Tuwaiq Escarpment and the land directly below it, west of Riyadh. Its quite popular for day tripping locals and expats who drive out on the Mecca road westward. They indulge in walks and many other outdoor activities such […]

Oct 262012
Shaybah - Rub Al Khali

The family travelled on a Saudi Aramco run trip to Shaybah on 4th October. This is a very special trip as this area is basically out of bounds to most people residing in Saudi Arabia, and when you take into account how few foreigners live in Saudi Arabia the number of foreigners who have visited […]