Monday, October 30, 2017

We ventured out under a beautiful pink and yellow Arabian sunset, which was just over the horizon.  It felt like we were surrounded by Crested Larks because we could hear their songs from all directions. 

We did not get a great shot of a Crested Lark, so we got in the car and packed up the scope and binoculars, and started to drive off from the desert scrub habitat.  When all of a sudden... I heard a call from outside my window!  I looked outside and saw a well-camouflaged pair of Crested Larks.  The Larks looked like miniature soldiers because of how well they blended in with their environment

This camouflage is important because of their need to avoid predators like foxes, which eat their eggs.  Crested Larks nest on the ground, so blending in helps them protect their nests.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

RTES Young Birder's Club Inaugural Adventure

We arrived at the Beach Path at 6:45 AM for our first bird walk as leaders of the Ras Tanura Elementary Young Birder's Club.  I was surprised that there were nine other kids that showed up because I was only expecting four or five.  I guess more people were interested than I thought.

We set off on the path with our binoculars, camera, and my mom had the spotting scope.  At the starting point we saw an immature House Sparrow with downy feathers.  After that we heard 20 to 40 Rose-Ringed Parakeets squawking from the tall Palm Trees.  The other kids were not sure what they were so I helped them identify the Parakeets.  Most people do not realize that these birds are actually invasive here because someone let go of their pet Parakeets.  Now there are hundreds.

After almost an hour of walking my mom and I were getting nervous that there was not going to be anything too exciting for the group to spot.  Mom was desperately scanning the dunes for movement, then she saw something.  We set up the scope and my mom exclaimed "Isabelline Wheatear."  As we continued to scan we noticed there were actually four of them.  Our theory is that there were two parents and two juveniles, but we could not distinguish with certainty, which ones were juveniles.  There was one male who was noticeably brighter than the rest.  The other kids had never seen a Wheatear before, so it was fun to give them a chance to look through the scope at them!

At the end of the trip, we happened to spot an Indian Silver-bill that appeared to be gathering nesting materials from the ground.  He was darting from the sand to the top of a small Palm Tree and back again.   The entire trip was only an hour, but several of the other kids were already tired at the end so it was good we only went for that long.  There were several kids who want to go again, with one of them asking "can we do this every weekend?"  Probably not, but I do look forward to leading another RTES Young Birder's Club outing, perhaps to the far north end of camp to "Boy Scout Beach" to try to spot nesting Crested Larks.
As always, you can see my blog and other Eco-adventures at