Monday, 2 March 2015

Breeding Swallows in Riyadh

Following on from last weeks discovery on nesting swallows I returned on Feb 21st to see how things had progressed with the birds.  I am glad to say that everything is developing well in that two additional nests are now complete and the birds have begun to sit.  The one hanging from the dangling light cable is yet to be completed but hopefully in the next week or two this will be completed too.

This picture is of a nest which last week had little more than the two side pieces in place, the birds are working frantically at it now so will soon be complete.

This bird is one of two on the west wall and has been sitting for a week or more now.  I did not have the equipment to get up to take a closer look while the bird was away but hopefully I will be able to next time I am here (without disturbing the birds obviously).

This is the nest I mentioned earlier, in last weeks picture it was little more than a mud blob at the base of the wires, but in the week has grown into a little platform.  I will be watching this with interest.

While the birds were away I took the opportunity to look at the lowest of the nests but could not see in.  I used my trusty phone camera to get some shots which I did not think had worked at the time.  However, on looking at them again I noticed three eggs in the lower right hand corner.  Confirmation for sure that there has been breeding.

Another shot of the eggs.  These are not great and I hope to get better ones in time, I had actually thought when I was on site that there was nothing there.

In the week that has followed I contacted Mike Jennings, author of the Atlas of Breeding Birds of Arabia and we discussed the findings.  He is pretty certain that this is the first confirmed report of Barn Swallows breeding in the area and has suggested that we keep an eye on the families to see how they fare.  At the end of the season we will pen a report for one of the birding journals backed up by more information on numbers, egg count, fledging success and so on.  Exciting times.

Oh just something that might develop into another interesting finding;

On my walk around on the 21st I noticed a White Throated Kingfisher on the ground about 20meters ahead of me, the photos are on the main report for the 21st.  However moments after I took the photos he flew up into a tree and I noticed there were two together. At this time of year that can only lead to territory dispute or pairing and they did not seem to be fighting so I will be watching these closely over the next few weeks.

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