Birds of prey near Riyadh

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Early spring is a good time to look hard at the in the area. The wintering eagles gather and seem to be reinforced by others on passage before moving on.

Fulvescens at Al Hayer

Different types of other birds of prey pass through too. Last weekend saw some of these events. For example a fulvescens greater spotted remained near the pivot fields at Al Hayer on both Thursday and Friday even though I had been seeing one near Dirab at various times in the winter, quite possibly the same one.

Second shot of fulvescens greater spotted eagle

On Friday he was standing on the ground in a pivot field, with his head barely above the crop height, where 6 other eagles were aggregated.

Eastern at Al Hayer

The eagles were four other greater spotted eagle and two Eastern imperial eagle. There were no even though they are the most common eagle in winter.

undershot of eastern Imperial eagle

It looks like they were meeting up for a reason and I can only imagine they were preparing to move off but I am not an expert on eagle behaviour.

Greater spotted eagle at Al Hayer

Near-by a was perched over one of the largest trees in the area (and central Arabia!). Inside the branches were many tens of Spanish sparrow and a few .

Lesser kestrel at Al Hayer

Lesser kestrel are passage birds only in central Arabia. They can be in small groups or singularly.

Meanwhile the regular kestrel were hawking over some of the fields and were present over the reed beds. Unfortunately there was no sign of other harriers on passage. I am still looking for my first Montagu’s harrier in which is much rarer than .

two steppe eagle at Sulay

Following a tip off from bird photographer, Tholightz Quindara, Lou ande mad a short visit to the main city waste dump at Sulay on Thursday to check out the eagles that had been reported massing there in the afternoons.

steppe eagle in flight at Sulay

We arrived in the early afternoon but still counted 14 eagles. Four of them were perched on electricity pylons from time to time. As far as I could tell all the ones we saw were steppe eagle.

steppe eagle in flight at Sulay

And we were on the look out for any exceptions.

remaining perched steppe eagle

I knew very little about eagle identification before I came to Saudi Arabia but I am certainly getting a lot of practice in the winters.

Robert Tovey

Robert Tovey

Dr Rob Tovey is a scientist by training and more recently an English teacher. His profession allows him to travel to some of the more difficult-to-get-to places and stay there for years if his inclination takes him. He is a keen bird watcher, blogger and amateur photographer. He has worked in Azerbaijan and Libya and is currently in Saudi Arabia. Rob also has a base in Bulgaria so overall is becoming a bit of birding specialist in very general terms where East meets West.

Robert Tovey

Robert Tovey

Dr Rob Tovey is a scientist by training and more recently an English teacher. His profession allows him to travel to some of the more difficult-to-get-to places and stay there for years if his inclination takes him. He is a keen bird watcher, blogger and amateur photographer. He has worked in Azerbaijan and Libya and is currently in Saudi Arabia. Rob also has a base in Bulgaria so overall is becoming a bit of birding specialist in very general terms where East meets West.

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Susan Lee

Highly interesting! I once saw a Golden eagle flying right overhead of me like the under-shot photo you took and it had a pair of the ravens (that live near me) dive-bombing at it. Made me wish sincerely for the kind of camera that might have causght some of that incredible aerial display.

Susan Lee

Highly interesting! I once saw a Golden eagle flying right overhead of me like the under-shot photo you took and it had a pair of the ravens (that live near me) dive-bombing at it. Made me wish sincerely for the kind of camera that might have causght some of that incredible aerial display.