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.

May 152018
Rock Semaphore Gecko – Raydah Escarpment

Whilst birding the bottom valley of the Raydah Escarpment I saw a Rock Semaphore Gecko Pristurus rupestris also known as Blandford’s Semaphore Gecko. This is a tiny gecko which, like other members of the genus Pristurus, is notable for being active during the day rather that at night. Whereas most other geckos are nocturnal and […]

May 062018
White-spotted Pansy – Raydah Escarpment

Whilst birdwatching the bottom valley of the Raydah Escarpment in the Asir Mountains of southwest Saudi Arabia, I came across and photographed a White-spotted Pansy or White-spotted Commodore Precis limnoria. This is a butterfly in the Nymphalidae family. It is found in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania. The habitat consists of savanna […]

Apr 282018
Beema Yellow Wagtail - Deffi Park

The Yellow Wagtail is a common passage migrant through the whole of Arabia with many thousands passing through the Eastern Province alone. A number of different subspecies occur, often together with Jubail being a particularly good area for seeing large groups. The first subspecies to occur are Black-headed Wagtailsfeldeggand these are then followed normally bybeema. […]

Apr 272018
Wheatears and late winter visitors - Jubail

Birding the Jubail area continued turning up migrants and winter visitors with plenty of Great Cormorants staying in the area later this year than previously. They used to be seen rarely in the area but have now started winter in large numbers. Wheatears have been common with Pied Wheatears the commonest although a few Eastern […]

Apr 222018
Migrants arriving in good numbers – Jubail

Whilst birding the Jubail area in late March, it became obvious a good number of migrants had arrived. There were a good number of Tree Pipits scattered around, several late Water Pipits and a single Spotted Crake wandered out onto dome vegetation near the edge of a wet area, briefly. More than ten birds of […]

Apr 152018
Painted Lady Butterfly – Dhahran Hills

The first Painted Lady butterfly of the year appear in late March possibly as a result of the very heavy rains. Although the Painted Lady can survive in Saudi Arabia in most years the majority of butterflies are probably migrants. The Painted Lady is the most widely distributed butterfly in the world occurring on all […]

Apr 142018
Arabian Spiny-tailed Lizard – Jebal Hamrah

A few days ago I was walking around the flat stoney desert area near Jebal Hamrah when I came across an Arabian Spiny-tailed Lizard sunning itself by its hole. It was still quite cool as it was a blue colour.Theybecome yellow when they have heated up. These lizards are relatively common and widespread across Saudi […]

Apr 112018
Bimaculated Larks – Jebal Hamrah

Whilst birding the Jebal Hamrah pivot irrigation fields recently with Phil Roberts, I came across a Bimaculated Lark Melanocorypha bimaculata. The bird was on the edge of the field in with a very large group of around three hundred Greater Short-toed Larks, but flew almost immediately. We moved to where it had landed and refound […]

Apr 082018
Seven species of Wheatear – Jebal Hamrah

Whilst birding the Jebal Hamrah area in March I came across seven species of Wheatear in a single day including Black-eared Wheatear, Hooded Wheatear, White-crowned Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Isabelline Wheatear, Pied Wheatear and Desert Wheatear. The week previously, I also saw an Eastern Mourning Wheatear, making a total of eight species in a week. The […]

Apr 042018
Trumpeter Finch – Jebal Hamrah

Whilst birding the Jebal Hamrah pivot irrigation fields recently with Phil Roberts we came across a pair of Trumpeter Finch Bucanetes githagineus. This species is a locally common widespread resident found in manly arid rocky areas where it is thinly distributed. Birds are seen throughout the year but may become common after good rains with […]

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