Pied Kingfisher – Sabkhat Al Fasl

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Whilst ringing at 23 October 2015 I found a Ceryle rudis flying around near one of the nets. Pied is a scarce winter visitor to with most records from the Eastern Province. On 25 February 1999 there were six birds present at Sabkhat Al Fasl (Jubail) and an inland record of one at an old disused dairy farm at Thumamah 14-22 October 1999.

A record from the northwest of Saudi Arabia was one at Lake Yanbu al Medina 14 April 1999. A few singles have been seen since then often at Sabkhat Al Fasl but it remains a scarce bird for the country and a good bird to find. Pied Kingfishers generally use small and large lakes, large rivers, estuaries, coastal lagoons, mangroves and sandy and rocky coasts and require waterside perches such as trees, reeds, fences and posts.

They eat predominantly fish and regularly hover particularly so in windy conditions with the bird seen at Sabkhat Al Fasl regularly hovering and calling. Birds fly low over the water with steady wing beats and then rise 2–10 metres in the air, with body held nearly vertical, bill held down and wings beating rapidly; they then dive down into the water and if successful swallow prey on the wing without beating on branch or something similar.

Birds are generally sedentary, however, in the non-breeding season, local movements can extend over several hundreds of kilometres and this is probably how birds enter the Eastern Province.

 

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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.

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.

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Len

What a great image ..