Area of Saudi Arabia
16 June 2009
Stephen Burch, England
Saudi Arabia is
not somewhere for a casual visit, but a short business
trip to Dammam allowed me to do a little birding. The
main 'event' was a drive one afternoon for some local
birding and photography - many thanks indeed to Adrian
Drummond-Hill for taking me out in his car, and patiently
doing his best to get me onto to the local specialities.
The residential compound I was staying in also provided
some photo opportunities after work each day.
some of the photos I managed to take during this visit,
and some brief notes on the main species of interest.
As might be expected
given the location and time of year, the weather was
formidably hot! At midday, temperatures were well up into
the 40's șC, which is generally only tolerable to the
those unused to such extremes in short doses. Birding is
best undertaken from a car with good A/C!
Although it was very hot,
the atmosphere was often dust laden, so that the sky was
grey rather than blue, without the sun being clearly
visible - not ideal for photography.
All the pics
shown below were taken with a Canon EOS 350D with a EF400mm/f4
DO lens. For most a x1.4 teleconverter was also used. All
pics were taken in RAW format, and I use NeatImage for
noise suppression, with PhotoShop Elements 3.0 for
subsequent processing. For further details see the equipment and image processing pages elsewhere on this website.
surrounded by desert is something of a magnet for birds,
but is best in spring/autumn not summer. Nevertheless the
areas around the lake held two good lifers for me - Hoopoe
Lark and Black-crowned Finch Lark.
For some pics see below.
were Kentish Plover, Turtle Dove,
Swallow, Black-winged Stilt
and the odd Tern. Unfortunately views of
the open water were blocked by tall reeds which
completely surrounded the water.
|Black-crowned Finch Lark
|Black winged Stilt
|Black Pennant - thanks to
Richard Lewington for identifying this small
Even in mid
June, the coastal areas around Dammam were quite good for
a selection of waders and other water birds. Wader
highlights included Terek Sandpiper, Lesser
Sand Plover and some summer plumaged Curlew
Sandpipers. There were also Flamingos,
Spoonbill and the odd Western
Reef Heron. Terns included Least/Sauders,
Caspian and Lesser Crested.
There should also have been White-cheeked Terns
about, but I don't recall seeing any. Unfortunately,
taking photos is not recommended in these areas - too
likely to cause problems.
compound in Dammam was good for a small range of
confiding common species. Here are some hand held photos
of most of them. The others were Common Mynah,
Collared Dove and House Sparrow.
That was about it, as far as I could tell.