Whilst in Abha I went to the Raydah Escarpment a designated nature reserve run by the Saudi Wildlife Authority (SWA). This is a well-vegetated section of escarpment dropping down steeply from the top near the ranger’s station to a small village and a large wadi at the bottom. Most of the endemics occur in the reserve and I saw Arabian Waxbill, Arabian Partridge, Arabian Serin, Yemen Thrush and Yemen Linnet around the farm area near the top of the reserve.
Other good birds seen include Dusky Turtle Doves, Palestine Sunbirds, Little Rock Thrushes, Little Swifts and Abyssinian White-eyes. At the bottom of the reserve near the village Shinning Sunbirds, Blackstart’s and Green Bee-eaters were all seen in good numbers. One of the rangers mentioned he had seen an Arabian Magpie in the reserve the day before near the mosque on the side of the main road.
This is the first time I know of one being seen here since 2010. I failed to find Olive Pigeon, however, despite walking up and down many kilometres of road looking. This species is sometimes seen at this location but I am still yet to see it in Saudi Arabia. A few Fan-tailed Ravens and a Himalayan Griffon Vulture were flying over as were a couple of Common Kestrels.