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 are his and most have been cropped by me. I am grateful for his permission to post them.
The first two pictures show the beautiful and the ugly! Flamingo is common on the coast and house crow is common in the urban areas in the east. Flamingo is a winter visitor and house crow is a resident. All around the coastline of Arabia you can see western reef heron. On my visit to the Jizan area recently you may recall I posted a mixed pairing of dark and light morph.
There are two common types of cormorant on the east coast. These are great cormorant and Socotra cormorant.
Despite two visits and plenty of time spent looking I have so far failed to spot any of the later bird. Indeed it has joined my revised list of nemesis birds.
Sekhet al Fasl near Jubail is one of the very few places in Saudi Arabia where you are pretty much guaranteed to see purple swamphen.
And along the eastern coast line near Jubail, Dammam and Khobar you are also guaranteed to see water pipit in winter. You may recall I saw more in one day than in my whole life before the last time I went to Jubail.While on the subject of Jubail, Deffi Park in the city is worth a visit in winter because it is reported to be one of the best places in the kingdom to see northern migrant winterers such as blackbird, chaffinch, brambling and robin.
However I know that several birding visits have been made this winter without success including one from me. Mansur has now come the closest. He observed a song thrush there which is not as rare but also not very common on the east side of the country.