Dec 222014
Lots of birds – Sabkhat Al Fasl

My trip to Sabkhat Al Fasl last weekend proved quite rewarding with lots of birds seen including a few good ones. The first bird we saw on arrival was a Mauryan (Steppe) Grey Shrike sitting on an electrical post with a Common Kestrel. It has not been a…

Sep 152014
UK wagtails face long-term decline

The three species of wagtail that breed in the UK are suffering long-term declines, a study has revealed. Yellow wagtails, grey wagtails and pied wagtails are all in decline, according to the annual breeding bird survey’s latest report, though conservationists say the reasons for the reductions are not clear. Yellow wagtails, farmland birds which migrate […]

Mar 312014
More shrikes and a trickle of other migrants – Dhahran Hills

The last week on the ‘patch’ has seen a few new species arrive, in particular shrikes. The first Woodchat Shrikes have started occurring with many more Turkestan and a few Daurian Shrikes also included. Another sign of migration were small groups of Tawny Pipits and Eurasian Hoopoes in a couple of places. Very few wintering […]

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 […]

Jul 282013
Jahra Pools Reserve, Kuwait

Summer in Kuwait is searing hot and is traditionally a quiet birding month, however in late Spring we do have some species breeding at the Pools and mid-summer we have many Tern species breeding on the off-shore islands. Little Ringed Plovers (Charadrius dubius) have remained through the Spring and Summer and are suspected to be […]

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 […]

May 042013
Four new site species – Sabkhat Al Fasl

Phil Roberts and I set off early for a trip to look for migrants at Sabkhat Al Fasl a trip that proved very worthwhile and on which I saw four species at the site that I had not seen there before. The visit started well with Turkestan Shrike, Lesser Whitethroat and Common Redstart all seen […]

Apr 012013
A few good birds – Dhahran Hills

Migration is continuing and a few more birds have been passing through the last few days. Migrants have included Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin, a good number of Pallid Swifts, Red-throated Pipit, Eurasian Hoopoe, small flocks of Black-headed Wagtails, large numbers of White Wagtails, Turkestan Shrike, Daurian Shrike, two Woodchat Shrikes and […]

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 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 052013
Some good birds – Sabkhat Al Fasl

The cold weather has now been about for almost a week and the temperature at Sabkhat Al Fasl at 06:00 hrs was only 4 degrees Celsius, which is the coolest I have seen in my two years in Saudi Arabia. Even by 08:00 hrs the temperature had only reached 6 degrees Celsius. I thought this […]

Feb 042013
Meadow Pipits – Dhahran Hills

An early morning trip to the ‘patch’ produced a large numbers of Wagtails and Pipits. There were at least 100 White Wagtails and 50+ Water Pipits with about six Meadow Pipits also associating with them. Their favourite place is the rough ground by the settling pond where the birds gather at first light before dispersing. […]

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 […]