Raptor Migration in Saudi Arabia

Yanbu Dump
Observer: Gary Bletsch

Date Observation Time Egyptian Vulture
Neophron percnopterus
Steppe Eagle
Aquila nipalensis
Greater Spotted Eagle
Aquila clanga
European Honey Buzzard
Pernis apivorus
Steppe Buzzard Long-legged Buzzard  European Marsh Harrier Others
27 Sep. 09:45-12:30 1 1 1 10+ 8+ 0 5 Unidentified Harrier 3
Black Kite 4
Common Kestrel 1
18 Oct. 0 3 0 0 30 1 or 2 2 Eurasian Sparrowhawk 1
Unid. Aquila sp. 1
Short-toed Eagle 1
1 Nov. 0 3 0 0 5 10 0 Black Kite 2

Report by Mr. Gary Bletsch
This excellent birding site will soon be changed. Several miles of sturdy chain-link fence are being installed around the area, and the days of easy, carefree access appear to be numbered. However, since the trucks that bring in the water must have a gate to get in, it seems likely that access may still be possible, even with the fence in place.
The hazard to the birds continues here as well. Vast ponds of oil attract thirsty birds, and the results are reminiscent of the La Brea Tar Pits. Today, for example, I saw an all-black Ardea heron, probably a Grey Heron, but unrecognizable and quite forlorn-looking, as it was completely covered in oil. At another pond, a Teal or Garganey swam about only an inch or so above the surface, its buoyancy compromised by a dense coating  of oil. Among the raptors, one Eurasian Kestrel was about one-third sullied with the oil; a Steppe Buzzard had oil on its tail.