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Mar 222013
 
Birding around Rabigh

I visiting my friend and long time birding colleague Brian James last weekend. He lives at Thuwal north of Jeddah. On Thursday morning we set out north with fellow birders Dan and Alice towards Yanbu. We birded the Yanbu area and over the weekend we saw over 115 species. This is even more than my [...]

Mar 062013
 
Birds on the east coast

This is the second blog to look at Mansur Al Fahad’s trip two weeks ago to the east coast. He saw a very large number and variety of waders, some of which gave almost as many identification headaches as the gulls. However this blog looks at some of the non-waders he saw. All the pictures [...]

Mar 052013
 
Birds of prey near Riyadh

Early spring is a good time to look hard at the birds of prey in the Riyadh area. The wintering eagles gather and seem to be reinforced by others on passage before moving on. Different types of other birds of prey pass through too. Last weekend saw some of these events. For example a fulvescens [...]

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 192013
 
Two important birds in one magical morning

Those who follow my blog will know that hooded wheatear  has been my nemesis bird. Along with two owls, Dunn’s lark and a very small number of others it has been one of a dwindling group of confirmed residents in Riyadh province which I hadn’t seen. male hooded wheatear I have spent many hours looking for it either as [...]

Feb 192013
 
Pallid harrier along the highway

In the northernmost field of NADEC farm on Thursday, Lou Regensmorter and I  came across a female pallid harrier. The field is adjacent to route 90 which goes from Kharj to Haradh female pallid harrier What was interesting is that six hours before, we had stopped the car journey at the outskirts of Kharj on [...]

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 292013
 
Thumamah escarpment

For the second half of last Thursday’s birding trip, Lou Regensmorter and I ventured up to the top of the Tuwaiq escarpment north of Riyadh. In part we were looking for the elusive hooded wheatear which is one of my nemesis birds. In part this was a speculative look at a potentially new birding place. [...]

Jan 242013
 
Rhawdat Khuraim in winter

Rhawdat Khuraim is an oasis 80 kilometres north west of Riyadh. It proved to be an excellent place for passage birds when visited last spring. So we visited it again, this time obviously in winter to see what it might hold. In many ways it was a bit disappointing. Only two warblers were seen. These [...]

Jan 222013
 
Deffi Park, Jubail

I visited Deffi Park, Jubail for the first time on Thursday. It is a large city- based public park two kilometres inland from the Persian gulf. It is one of the best places apparently for migrant Eurasian thrushes and finches to be pushed down in mid winter. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t see one blackbird [...]

Jan 202013
 
A wild day at Sebkhat al Fasl, Jubail

My visit to Sebkhet al Fasl, Jubail on Thursday afternoon was a cool and windy one. It was also wet in the sense that the water level was at least 50 cm higher than during my first visit a few months ago. The picture below is not the open sea. It is part of the [...]