Tuesday, 1 November 2016

AsSaad ah East of Al Kharj

Headed south to Al Kharj to see what I could find and decided to look up river from my usual spot near the Livestock Market.  As it was a new spot for me I was not at all sure what I would find but that's part of the fun of it I guess.  The area is to the east of AlKharj and I selected a spot that was at the edge of a small built up area called AsSaad where the wastewater stream passed. On one side of the road there was the river, or to be more precise the reed bed, as very little open water remains that way for long in this region.  There was a small drain immediately adjacent to the road which was partially wet and attracted a number of birds. On the opposite side of the road was pure desert, a good deal of which was powder sand as opposed to the rocky type desert which is more common around this region.  Overhead there were a good number of Barn Swallow taking advantage of the insect life in the area.

I am not really an architecture buff but AlKharj has a pretty impressive building on the main road from Riyadh. This the famous water reservoir tower which is a major landmark in the town.  It is called "Burj Alhkarj" which means Kharj tower. It has four levels in the upper part of the tower for: operations and maintenance equipment for the reservoir, another for clerks desks and administration and the other two for visitors sight seeing with small shops and one level is a rotating restaurant covering the sites around it.  Pretty amazing I think you'll agree.

The area to the east of my location looked like this for miles with vegetation disappearing as you look further east.  Walking on this stuff was hard work and anyhow there were very few birds on that side of the road. 

Streaked Weavers were about in small numbers on site but only in small groups of 3 or 4.

A rather poor shot of the Graceful Prinia, perched in a bush by the roadside.

Very active around the area were a flock of a dozen or so White Wagtails.  When I arrived they were chasing each other around a small group of bushes and occasionally catching bugs.  A very noisy little group.
In a wet area close to the road was a pair of Black Winged Stilts, unfortunately I could not get close enough for a clear photo but at least there is a record :)

Sandpiper by the edge of a little stream, again I could not get close enough for a better shot.

All over the site were small groups of Little Green Bee-eaters shooting up into the sky to catch bugs then gracefully gliding back to their perch.  

Another distance shot of a pair of Spur Winged Plover and a Black Winged Stilt in the background.  Trouble with this spot is here are few places with enough cover to allow you to approach closely.

So as we are on a roll with long distance shots, this is the only member of the Heron family I saw all day.  I think it is a Purple Heron gliding off into the mist but I guess It could be a Grey either.

As with many areas around the Kingdom, the White Eared Bulbul was much in evidence.

A couple of quick shots of one of the Reed Warblers, I am not sure which one as its not a very clear photo in either case but maybe someone out there is reader land will recognise i.

Another shot facing the other way, if only the bush was not in the way.

A bit of a size comparison, the Indian Silverbill is a good deal smaller than its neighbour the Laughing Dove.  There were quite a few of both about the place and I spent some time watching a small group of Silverbills feeding in a clump of long grass.  Fascinating to watch.

Mallard making a run for it!!

Namaqua Dove, again there were a few about but not as many as the Pigeon and Laughing Dove.

I was delighted to see this Trumpeter Finch perched on a branch.  I think he was alone, which is a little unusual but at least I spotted him as I have not seen one of these for a while.

A closer shot of a Crested Lark, it was weird because this guy flew up close to where I was standing and perched on a branch looking at me. He stayed there for some time.  Had an issue getting the camera to focus as the bridge cameras struggle with anything that small and that close, but got it in the end.

I spotted this bird and its partner about 2km away when I was at the far end of my walk and originally thought it was a pair of Marsh Harriers, they disappeared, but then I spotted one in a tree when I was making my way back and grabbed a couple of photos, there was clearly no head markings and a white base to its tail, so its no Marsh Harrier.  A Greater Spotted Eagle, sub adult is my considered opinion.

This comes into the not a clue bracket.  I am thinking another White Wagtail is an odd light but I am not sure.  I only got one photo before it flew off so still not certain.

Thought it was about time I featured my accomplice on all of these trips. Akram is a great guy and quite knowledgeable about birding locations for a non birder.

Another great days birding overall.  I was disappointed not o see a kingfisher, but there was never a great likelihood that they are in the area anyhow.

©  Bernard Bracken.

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