Irina reaches Saudi Arabia

One fascinating aspect of Sociable Lapwing migration is that these birds make their journeys in a series of hops rather than in one jump.

The last review of our satellite-tagged birds’ movements was made on October 28th and at that point we found Boris had remained staging near the Turkey/Syria border for at least 19 days and Ainur has remained in the same location for a month in South East Turkmenistan. While conditions remain favourable, migrating birds use these stopovers to feed, rest and restore their energy before travelling on.

Irina has however pushed on south and she is now in North West Saudi Arabia near Tabuk and appears to be in an area of irrigated, agricultural pivot fields.

Irina's location in pivot fields at Tabuk.

Irina’s arrival in Tabuk is significant as it confirms this location as a current regular stopover/wintering site. Last year, on November 15th 2012,  Rob Tovey found a flock of ten birds close by and Abaj, one of our previously satellite-tagged birds, was also found nearby in January 2011.

Previous historical records of Sociable Lapwing flocks in Saudi Arabia include 25 in 1934 and 45 in 1988. Irina’s arrival in Saudi is only the seventh record since 1950.

Rob Tovey also recorded a larger wintering flock of 35 Sociable Lapwings some 100km further south in South-western Saudi Arabia near Jizan in February this year.

It will be interesting to now see where Irina heads next. Will she stay and winter in Saudia Arabia or perhaps push on again and head across the Red Sea into Africa?

Here is a map showing the progress of our three tagged birds so far this autumn.

Tagged Sociable Lapwing progress as at 28th October 2013.

If you would like to sign up for email alerts so you can stay in touch with the progress of our three tagged birds please follow this link.

If you have seen any Sociable Lapwings recently or encounter any in the coming months we’d like to hear from you. You can submit your own sightings here.

We look forward to bringing you more news of the next stage of the Sociable Lapwings amazing journey shortly.

Related posts:

  1. Irina arrives in eastern Turkey
  2. Irina tagging venue
  3. Satellite-tagged Sociable Lapwings are on the move again
  4. Ainur tagging venue
  5. Where have the Sociable Lapwings that were heading west got to?

5 Responses

  1. Robin Dulake 02. Nov, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    Thank you so much for the Sociable Lapwing website. V moving to know they are surviving and being observed so carefully.

    We used to have a field full of lapwings (not sociable variety obviously) here in South Dorset every year until the farmer drained the field; better for the sheep but…

    We miss their calling, exotic flight and beauty.

  2. Rob Tovey 02. Nov, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

    Great news about Sociable Lapwings turning up in Tabuk again. One outstanding question from last year’s sighting there was whether this was a wintering place, or whether birds go further south. Our sighting was in mid November so it was ambiguous. We asked local birder Viv Wilson to follow up but he couldnt find them again leading us to believe it wasn’t a wintering place. We should find out soon if and when Irina moves on.

    It would be ironic if she moved on 1000 kilometres south to the area just north of Jizan where we also saw 35 in mid winter. I now have a very personal interest in this year’s tracking. Well done, BirdLife.

  3. Omar 10. Nov, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

    Hello Rob

    Nice record indeed another meg record added to the Yellow B. Warbler.


  4. Viv Wilson 15. Nov, 2013 at 5:00 am #

    Off again tomorrow morning, to see if Irina and her friends will pay me a visit while I am driving around the Pivot Fields at Tabuk. That would be the 16Nov13.

  5. Phil Roberts 01. Dec, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

    On November 19th I saw 7 Sociable Lapwing in a field approximately north-east of Sabya near Jazan in Saudi Arabia. I would assume these may be wintering birds.

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