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United Arab Emirates

 

   

9 - 16 November 2008

Observers: F. Simpson & Ayrshire Birders Abroad

 

INTRODUCTION


 

This trip was organised by Tony and Gerda Scott of Ayrshire Birders Abroad with Angus Hogg as bird leader. With the help of Arabian Adventures, twenty two of us criss-crossed the deserts from coast to coast in search of Arabian specialities, wintering Arctic waders, seabirds in the Gulf, migrant warblers in oases, and, not forgetting, the many introduced species... well ok, not everyone was so enamoured by mynahs, bulbuls and parakeets!

 

The United Arab Emirates is a federation consisting of seven emirates, the largest emirate is Abu Dhabi with the capital city Abu Dhabi. It is a safe, modern country with a booming economy and travel is fairly quick and easy. Some locations are obviously sensitive and access is restricted and permission is often needed to enter some sites. Development around the main cities is progressing at an unprecedented scale and much 'greening' of the desert is occurring through irrigation by sprinklers. Such areas are obvious migrant traps in an otherwise inhospitable terrain. The UAEs location in Arabia means that the avifauna is a mix of Palearctic and Indo-Malayan species with Indian Roller, Little Green Bee-eatear, Purple Sunbird, and Red-wattled Lapwings being common everyday species on the trip.

 

High on my target list were Crab Plover in the coastal creeks and tidal lagoons (khors) around Ras al Khaimah, the endemic sub-species of White-collared Kingfisher in coastal mangroves at Khor Kalba, wintering Greater Spotted Eagles, Black-crowned Finch Lark and Hume's Wheatear in the deserts, Western Reef Egret and Indian Pond Heron in the coastal wetlands, and perhaps with some amount of luck, the Lappet-faced Vulture in the Hajar Mountains.

 

The birding was probably less intensive than my usual sort of trip due to the dynamics of birding in large group and the fact we spent much time indulging in food throughout the day! Despite the short time at most sites and the fact that the main autumn migration period was largely over, we amassed a list of over 140 species, with around 30 being lifers for me! Many thanks to Tony and Gerda for organising such a great trip to a fairly novel birding destination and to Angus and the rest of the group for helping to find the goodies!

 

 

 HIGHLIGHTS


 

Socotra Cormorant · Western Reef Egret · Indian Pond Heron · Greater Spotted Eagle · Crab Plover · Red-wattled Lapwing · White-tailed Lapwing · Lesser Sand Plover · Greater Sand Plover · Sooty Gull · Saunders' Tern · White-cheeked Tern · Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse · White-collared Kingfisher · Pharaoh Eagle Owl · Little Green Bee-eater · Indian Roller · Black-crowned Finch-Lark · Pale Crag Martin · Olive-backed Pipit · Hooded Wheatear · Hume's Wheatear · Variable Wheatear · Sykes's Warbler · Persian Wheatear · Plain Leaf Warbler · Arabian Babbler · Purple Sunbird · Isabelline Shrike

 

Greater Flamingos, Ras al Khor, Dubai © Fraser Simpson

 Towering skyscrapers & long-legged waders

 

 

LOGISTICS


 

Everything was pretty much organised by Tony, Gerda and Angus. All I had to do was gen up and research the birds!

Click here for future SOC Touring trips.

 

Flights
Return from Glasgow to Dubai via Amsterdam with KLM.

 

Ground Transport
Arabian Adventures www.arabian-adventures.com

 

Accommodation
Hilton Al Ain - Al Sarooj District, Al Ain

Dubai Majestic - one of the few towers conveniently located in the heart of Bur Dubai

 

Maps
Since Arabian Adventures and Angus knew many of the sites, a map was not really needed for this type of trip. A good scale map was difficult to find for the country. I used the Explorer UAE mini map 1:550 000 (1cm = 5.5 km) which shows basic features and has a satellite image at the same scale on the reverse. Very compact, 10 x 10 cm when folded, and cheaper that the bigger brand maps (most just at 1:800 000) at £3.99 (Dhs. 25).

Tommy Pedersen's Birding the UAE online guide (www.uaebirding.com/birdingsites.html) has the latest site information and is the best source to consult for directions to the sites.

 

Exchange Rate November 2008
1.00 GBP = 5.49846 AED (United Arab Emirates Dirhams)

 

Essential Listening
The Desert Lounge - Volume 2 (EMI Music Arabia, 2007)

 

 

LITERATURE, REFERENCES & ONLINE RESOURCES


 

•     Richardson, C. 1990. The Birds of the United Arab Emirates. Hobby.

    Porter, R.F. et al. 1996. Birds of the Middle East. Helm.

    Pedersen, T. et al. 2008. Birds of the United Arab Emirates - an annotated checklist. Internet published.

    Jongbloed, M. 2000. Wild About Reptiles - Field Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of the UAE. ERWDA.
    Jongbloed, M. et al. 2002. Wild About Mammals - Field Guide to the Terrestrial Mammals of the UAE. Arabian        Leopard Trust.

•     Trip reports at Travellingbirder.com (the Internet portal to birding travel and birdwatching trip reports)

 

•     Useful websites:

•     UAE Birding

•     UAEbirding’s Weblog

•     www.arabianwildlife.com

•     UAE IBAs

•     BirdLife Middle East and Central Asia Homepage

•     News & Information on the United Arab Emirates

 

 

ITINERARY


 

Day 00       08/11/08     Afternoon flight from Glasgow to Amsterdam. Overnight flight to Dubia.

Day 01       09/11/08     Duabi > Al Ain > Jebel Hafeet > Hotel Grand Mercure > Green Mubazzarah > Al Ain
Day 02       10/11/08     Al Ain > Lahbab Fields > Hatta > Qarn Nazwa > Al Ain
Day 03       11/11/08     Al Ain > Ghantoot > Abu Dhabi Eastern Lagoon > Al Wathba camel race track
Day 04       12/11/08     Al Ain > Green Mubazzarah > Al Ain Oasis > Ain Al Fayda lake
Day 05       13/11/08     Al Ain > Ras Al Khor > Duabi > Al Safa Park > Mushrif National Park > Dubai
Day 06       14/11/08     Dubai > Sharjah > Umm Al Quwain > Al Jazeerah Khor > Hamraniya Fields > Khatt

Day 07       15/11/08     Dubia > Masafi > Fujairah National Dairy Farm, Dibba > Fujairah > Khor Kalba > Dubai

Day 08       16/11/08     Morning flight Duabi to Glasgow via Amsterdam

 

 

MAP OF MAIN SITES VISITED   Click here to download the Google Earth file of visited sites


 UAE birding map © Fraser Simpson

 

 

 

THE DIARY


Day 1
Sunday 09 November 2008
Duabi > Al Ain > Jebel Hafeet > Hotel Grand Mercure > Green Mubazzarah > Al Ain


 

HIGHLIGHTS
Little Green Bee-eater, Indian Wheatear, Desert Lark, Pale Crag Martin, Hooded Wheatear, Hume's Wheatear, Persian Wheatear, Plain Leaf Warbler, Isabelline Shrike, Brown-necked Raven.

DUBAI AIRPORT
0740h
After Arabian Adventures organised our swift transfer through passport control we watched our first (mostly introduced) birds while loading up the minibus: Alexandrine Parakeet, Common Mynah, White-cheeked Bulbul and House Sparrow. Many of the sparrows were apparently much paler in plumage than European birds. Soon after 0750h our driver, Veeran, was quickly navigating his way through the busy Dubai road network to our first base in Al Ain in the east of the country.

DRIVE SE on the E66: DUBAI > AL AIN
Species noted on the drive, mostly perched on roadside wires: Indian Roller, Little Green Bee-eater, Grey Francolin, Chukar, Short-toed Eagle, Collared Dove (abundant), Laughing Dove (fairly common), Common Mynah, Southern Grey Shrike, Greater Flamingo, Common Kestrel, White-cheeked Bulbul, Crested Lark, Grey Heron, Feral Pigeon, Psittacula sp. The entire motorway was enclosed with a belt of trees on either side and along some of the central reservation, giving the false impression the we were travelling through a well vegetated landscape. In reality this was all planted and irrigated and a landscape of harsh deserts and gravel plains lay just a short distance away. A stop at a small service station produced a female Hooded Wheatear on the fence behind the building. After a couple of hours we hit the outskirts of the city of Al Ain and the road ran south along the impenetrable razor-wired fence along the Oman border. Checked into the Hilton Al Ain and after breakfast headed to the peak of Jebel Hafeet.

Persian Wheatear, Jebel Hafeet © Fraser Simpson

 Persian Wheatear near the top of Jebel Hafeet

 

 

JEBEL HAFEET
Our first destination was the isolated peak of Jebel Hafeet (Jebel Hafit) to the south of the city of Al Ain. Soon after the minibus began the winding climb the first Hume's Warbler was sighted on a crash barrier.

Viewpoint on the way up [24º 05' 06.7'' N  055º 45' 50.2'' E] 777m
Hume's Wheatear (2) on rocky slopes above the road - one singing. Also brief views of unidentified female wheatear. Pale Crag Martin (or African Rock Martin) passing along the ridge. The layby here also attracted three Desert Larks (2 ads + juv) to feed on the level ground. A peach coloured flush was evident on the lower breast. Egyptian Vulture passed overhead.

 

Second stop slightly higher up [24º 05' 02.3'' N  055º 45' 52.6'' E] 824m
Better views of the Egyptian Vultures here with at least 20 birds including several dark juveniles. A group of 13 was perched on a telecommunications mast. Desert Lark (2) - flight call like a distant squeezy toy. Pale Crag Martin (1) overhead.

 

View from Jebel Hafeet © Fraser Simpson

 View of the 700 metre drop to the desert below Jebel Hafeet

 

 

JEBEL HAFEET

Top of Jebel Hafeet [24º 03' 32.8'' N  055º 46' 40.1'' E] 1036m
Birded around the cafe on the plateau below the peak. Very active pair of Hume's Wheatear including singing male. A pair of Brown-necked Raven passed over at 1416h. Desert Lark (5+). Persian Wheatear (f) showing at close range.

 

Telecommunications mast [24º 04' 24.7'' N  055º 46' 25.5'' E] 983m
At least 27 Egyptian Vultures perched on the red and white mast here. Spectacular, though hazy, views over the desert and the city of Al Ain. Pale Crag Martin (1), Feral Pigeon (3).

 

Hume's Wheatear, Jebel Hafeet © Fraser Simpson

 Male Hume's Wheatear singing & displaying to a female on Jebel Hafeet

 

 

GRAN MERCURE HOTEL
[24º 04' 43.2'' N  055º 46' 06.5'' E] 932m
After a drink in the hotel we birded the verdant gardens in the hope of some migrants.

Plain Leaf Warbler buzzing around high up in a small clump of palms. Very difficult to observe and only viewed briefly in the open for a few seconds. Eastern Black Redstart (phoencuroides) - adult male + imm, Blue Rock Thrush singing under a near full moon on the small cliff here, Pale Crag Martin (5), House Sparrow (14) - pale plumaged birds, Red-vented Bulbul (2) singing and sharing the same palms with two White-cheeked Bulbuls. A Masked Shrike was also glimpsed by Keith Martin.

 

GREEN MUBAZZARAH
[24º 06' 21.6'' N  055º 44' 58.3'' E] 283m
This is an extensive man-made parkland set in a valley near the base of Jebel Hafeet and reclaimed from the barren landscape by 'greening' the slopes through sprinklers and irrigation. Arrived at 1655h for the last hour of daylight and checked around the main picnic area before following a small vegetated stream with tamarisks on the banks, running towards the entrance gate. Indian Rollers were particularly obvious with birds flying between lamp posts. At least nine present in the immediate area. Noted around the picnic area: Isabelline Shrike (1st-w), Little Green Bee-eater (2), Grey Francolin (1), Blue Rock Thrush (1), Common Kestrel (1), Cattle Egret (6), White Wagtail (11), Grey Heron (1), House Sparrow (numerous) - large roost forming with many flocks coming in from a northerly direction.

Following the marshy stream towards dusk the best birds were Bluethroat (1st-w), Graceful Prinia (2) in a giant rush, and a Lesser Whitethroat keeping well hidden. Also noted:, Laughing Dove (2), Cattle Egret (3), Common Sandpiper (1), White-cheeked Bulbul (6), and Collared Dove (1).

 

Green Mubazzarah © Fraser Simpson

 Greening the desert with water sprinklers at Green Mubazzarah park

 

 

HILTON AL AIN
Red-wattled Lapwing (2) flew over calling around the hotel grounds in the evening at dinner.

 

Blue Rock Thrush, Jebel Hafeet © Fraser Simpson

 Male Blue Rock Thrush under the Moon at Gran Mercure Hotel

 

 

 

Day 2
Monday 10 November 2008
Al Ain > Lahbab Fields > Hatta > Qarn Nazwa > Al Ain


HIGHLIGHTS
Purple Sunbird, Little Green Bee-eater, Indian Roller, 'Masked' Wagtail, Red-wattled Lapwing, Isabelline Shrike, Persian Wheatear, Pharaoh Eagle Owl, Variable Wheatear.

HILTON AL AIN
Checked the fairly extensive hotel grounds after breakfast. Gardens, mini golf course, sprinkler-fed lawns, and palms around the swimming pools. Best birds among the common and introduced species were Purple Sunbird (10+), Indian Roller (1), Great Reed Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat (2), Great Reed Warbler (1), Graceful Prinia (1), Indian Silverbill (1) and Hoopoe (1). Other species noted: Common Mynah, White Wagtail (1), Laughing Dove (10), House Sparrow, White-spectacled Bulbul, White-cheeked Bulbul, Red-vented Bulbul, and Collared Dove.

 

AL AIN > HATTA

Species noted on the drive through barren landscapes broken only by Acacia (Acacia tortilis) plains and patches of Ghaff (Prosopis cineraria) trees: Little Green Bee-eater (6), Indian Roller (4), Southern Grey Shrike (1), Pale Crag Martin (2), Laughing Dove, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Crested Lark, House Sparrow, White-cheeked Bulbul, Feral Pigeon, Psittacula parakeets, Collared Dove, and Barn Swallow. Dead Long-legged Buzzard entangled in electrical wires.

 

PETROL STATION STOP
[24º 24' 03.9'' N  055º 47' 50.9'' E] 310m
0840h The highlight here was a Masked Wagtail (personata) with two alba White Wagtails on the edge of the dune. Sand Skink (Scincus mitranus) and a few other unidentified, faster moving lizards. Many tracks in the sand. Also House Sparrow (10+) and Collared Dove (2) at the petrol station.

 

Dunes, United Arab Emirates © Fraser Simpson

 Searching for larks in the dunes

 

 

SAIF RESTAURANT
[24º 29' 22.6'' N  055º 46' 25.9'' E] 339m
0900h Walked a short distance into the red sand dunes. We looked for Hoopoe Lark but the best bird was Black-crowned Finch-Lark. Also Marsh Harrier, Laughing Dove, White-cheeked Bulbul, Ring-necked Parakeet, and Feral Pigeon.

 

Pale Crag Martin (African Rock Martin) © Fraser Simpson

 Pale Crag Martin (or African Rock Martin)

 

 

LAHBAB FIELDS
[25º 01' 22.7'' N  055º 37' 14.6'' E] 137m
1050h Irrigated green fields managed for camel fodder. We couldn't find any access to the fields and had to make do with scoping through the fence as all gates were locked. The grass wasn't too lush and a passing tractor failed to flush any hidden pipits. The sprinkler heads are used as vantage point perches by shrikes and rollers. Southern Grey Shrikes (2) were dominant at the favoured sprinkler heads and regularly displaced the smaller Isabelline Shrikes (6). Little Green Bee-eater (3) catching the numerous small yellow butterflies - Blue Spotted Arab (Colotis phisadia). Eastern Olivaceous Warbler uttering subsong from dense cover. Red-wattled Lapwing (6) sheltering from the sun under trees along the perimeter fence. Indian Roller displaying. Several Laughing Doves singing. Other species noted: Indian Roller (3), Graceful Prinia (1), Pallid Swift (4), Crested Lark, Grey Francolin (1), Chukar (2), Lesser Whitethroat (1), House Sparrow, Collared Dove, Common Mynah, Feral Pigeon and White-cheeked Bulbul. Three impressive swallowtail butterflies observed - Lime Butterfly (Papilio demoleus)

 

White-cheeked Bulbul, Green Mubazzarah © Fraser Simpson

 White-cheeked Bulbul - one of several introduced bulbuls in the UAE

 

 

HATTA FORT HOTEL
[24º 49' 11.9'' N  056º 08' 5.9'' E] 319m

Had lunch here. The flower bed outside the main entrance had two butterflies: one Blue Pansy (Precis orithya) and 20+ Blue Spotted Arab (Colotis phisadia). Also noted: Purple Sunbird (7), Indian Silverbill (1), Indian Roller (1), Pale Rock Martin (2), White Wagtail (1) and numerous House Sparrows. Two Hume's Wheatears and a possible Cuckoo were seen by other members of the group.

 

Blue Pansy, Hatta © Fraser Simpson

 Blue Pansy butterfly in Hatta Fort Hotel gardens

 

 

HATTA DAM/LAKES
[24º 48' 34.2'' N  056º 11' 13'' E] 253m
1450h This site was completely dry following a few years of drought. Birding was slow though a small group of Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse was flushed by Mike Howes. They couldn't be relocated and time constraints meant we couldn't search more thoroughly. The landscape was impressive in the Hatta area with layers of mountains rising into the distance. Two or three Short-toed Eagle (sometimes know as Short-toed Snake Eagle) over the surrounding ridges. Brown-necked Raven (2), Hume's Wheatear (1), Persian Wheatear, Common Kestrel (2) and Feral Pigeon.

 

Hajar Mountains at Hatta © Fraser Simpson

 Al Hajar Mountains - view of the ridges & peaks from Hatta

 

 

QARN NAZWA
[24º 59' 00.0'' N  055º 39' 37.7'' E] 160m
This is a well known stake out for Pharaoh Eagle Owl and Variable Wheatear (or Eastern Pied Wheatear). Arrived at 1625h at checked the southern end of the limestone outcrop and found Persian Wheatear (4). In the last hour of daylight we moved along the road to view the holes and ledges in the steep rocky slope. Little Green Bee-eater, Southern Grey Shrike, Laughing Dove, Variable Wheatear (m + f), and House Sparrow. A pair of Brown-necked Ravens flew past at 1740h. Shortly afterwards an Arabian Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes arabica) appeared. After sunset, a Pharaoh Eagle Owl appeared on the ridge, silhouetted against the skyline. Calling much of the time. Ten minutes later a second bird appeared and sat a few metres away. We left in darkness, after the pair flew off to hunt.

 

Pharaoh Eagle Owl site, Qarn Nazwa © Fraser Simpson

 Waiting for Pharaoh Eagle Owl at Qarn Nazwa

 

 

Day 3
Tuesday 11 November 2008
Al Ain > Ghantoot > Abu Dhabi Eastern Lagoon > Al Wathba camel race track


 

HIGHLIGHTS
Cream-coloured Courser, Greater Spotted Eagle, Citrine Wagtail, Isabelline Wheatear, Desert Wheatear.

 

HILTON AL AIN

Red-wattled Lapwing heard calling in the darkness in the first few minutes of the day.

0615h Several members of the group assembled early for a check of the hotel grounds this morning.

Purple Sunbird (12), Grey Francolin, Hoopoe (3), Graceful Prinia (1), Southern Grey Shrike (1), Lesser Whitethroat (1), White Wagtail (3), Laughing Dove (40+), House Sparrow (30+), Ring-necked Parakeet (4) and several unidentified Psittacula parakeets over regularly, White-cheeked Bulbul, Common Mynah (5), and Collared Dove.

 

Al AIN > GHANTOOT
Fairly productive stretch of road with several species noted on the drive.

Indian Roller (3); two in Al Jimi district in Al Ain, one at Al Hassa Emarat petrol station.

Laughing Dove (hundreds), Collared Dove (hundreds), Pale Crag Martin (2), Purple Sunbird (1), Southern Grey Shrike (10)

Little Green Bee-eater (14), Indian Silverbill (2), Brown-necked Raven (5), White-spectacled Bulbul (1), White-cheeked Bulbul (31), Red-wattled Lapwing and Black-winged Stilt (4) on a roadside pool near the entrance to Dubai Pipes Factory, Kestrel (2), Crested Lark (1), House Sparrow (13), Common Mynah (8), Feral Pigeon (103), and a Hawker dragonfly, possibly an Anax sp.

 

Red-wattled Lapwing, Safa Park © Fraser Simpson

 Red-wattled Lapwing in Safa Park, Dubai

 

 

GHANTOOT: HYPOCOLIUS SITE
[24º 51' 49.4'' N  054º 54' 03.5'' E] 16m

First we checked the palm plantation on the other side of the road from the polo club as this is the well known locality for Grey Hypocolius. As we were now experiencing the heat of the day, the prospect of finding one of my 'top ten UAE most wanted' seemed unlikely. Red-wattled Lapwing (2) on rough, dry ground along the roadside. Grey Francolin (2), Southern Grey Shrike (4), House Sparrow, White-cheeked Bulbul, Laughing Dove, Feral Pigeon, Barn Swallow (1), Psittacula sp. (5). Six Cream-coloured Coursers flew over and dropped on to one of the fields in the polo club.

Butterflies noted: Plain Tiger (Danaus chrysippus) and Blue Spotted Arab (Colotis phisadia).

 

GHANTOOT POLO CLUB

The guard at the polo club entrance refused to allow us to enter and have a look at the fields. We had to make do with 'scoping from the perimeter fence. Good views of the field closest to the road produced a few good birds and restricted views of further, out-of-range fields revealed even more Cream-coloured Coursers (27+). Tawny Pipit (7), Hoopoe (2), Crested Lark (24), Southern Grey Shrike (1), House Sparrow (6), Laughing Dove, and Common Mynah (5).

 

GHANTOOT > ABU DHABI
Between Ghantoot and Dubai the scale of development was insurmountable and few species were noted: Southern Grey Shrike (1), Black-winged Stilt (5), Cattle Egret (3), Collared Dove, Common Mynah, and Feral Pigeon (11).

 

ABU DHABI: EASTERN LAGOON
[24º 26' 37.7'' N  054º 25' 22.9'' E] 0-2m
As the bus was heading into the city on road 22 along the northern side of Abu Dhabi island, the mangroves of the Eastern Lagoon were visible. I was spotted a huge raptor, suspecting the target eagle, and Angus confirmed it was a Greater Spotted Eagle. Just by chance, Veeran, our driver found a layby/parking strip and we all piled out of the bus to 'scope not one but two eagles!! A small number of waders were roosting as it appeared to be high tide. At one point the eagles drifted directly overhead towards the urban sprawl and flushed many of the waders: Common Redshank (13), Spotted Redshank (1), Greenshank (1), Whimbrel (25), Common Sandpiper (2), and Turnstone (2). A White-tailed Lapwing was seen by Mike Howes and a couple of fortunate others. Also Marsh Harrier (1), Common Kestrel (1), Cattle Egret (8), White-cheeked Bulbul and Feral Pigeon.

 

Greater Spotted Eagle, Abu Dhabi © Fraser Simpson

 Greater Spotted Eagle drifting from the mangroves to the city at Abu Dhabi's Eastern Lagoons

 

 

ABU DHABI
Species noted in the city: Laughing Dove, White-cheeked Bulbul, Common Mynah, Collared Dove, House Sparrow, and Feral Pigeon. Several urban artworks and logos around the city showed the image of a falcon illustrating the significance of these birds in traditional culture.

 

ABU DHABI ISLAND: ROAD 22
Slow traffic and many red lights actually turned out to be propitious for once with surprises in the form of Citrine Wagtail and Water Pipit (2) feeding on the roadside grass verges. These strips of grass are continuously sprinkled with water and are obviously attractive to several species. Also Chukar, House Crow, Crested Lark, Common Mynah (80+), Grey Francolin (4), Common Kestrel, and Black-winged Stilt (12).

 

AL WATHBA CAMEL RACE TRACK
[24º 14' 04.5'' N  054º 39' 14.5'' E] 22m
This huge, airport-sized race track southeast of Abu Dhabi was checked for wheatears, pipits, wagtails and harriers. The once irrigated grass fodder fields within the track circuit are now pretty much gone. The dry landscape did have plenty of knee-high xerophytic scrub which proved productive for Desert Wheatear and Isabelline Wheatear. We scoured a small part of the area until sunset finding Isabelline Wheatear (14), Desert Wheatear (6), Tawny Pipit (2), Trumpeter Finch (5), Yellow Wagtail (1 o/h), Barn Swallow (40+), Crested Lark (20), Marsh Harrier (imm male), White Wagtail (3), and Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse (5 o/h 1705h). I headed off on my own to investigate why the swallows were concentrating their feeding around one very small area - as a result I missed six Bimaculated Larks seen by the rest of the group.

 

 

 

Day 4
Wednesday 12 November 2008
Al Ain > Green Mubazzarah > Al Ain Oasis > Ain Al Fayda lake


 

HIGHLIGHTS
Plain Leaf Warbler, Hooded Wheatear, Persian Wheatear, Marsh Sandpiper, Citrine Wagtail (Barbary Falcon & Sand Partridge seen by most of the main group).

 

HILTON AL AIN
Common Mynah calling from balcony of my room this morning. A Laughing Dove also flew in and settled for a short time.

 

Green Mubazzarah © Fraser Simpson

 Water cannon at Green Mubazzarah park

 

 

GREEN MUBAZZARAH
[24º 06' 21.6'' N  55º 44' 58.3'' E] 283m
0810h A second visit to the Green Mubazzarah park initially proved slow with few additions around the picnic area and stream. Later a walk to the southern end and into the more natural scrub and the gorge provided several goodies!

Before we were even off the bus this morning, Keith spotted an albino bird on the grass in the company of a few Desert Larks. The bird itself was indeed an albino Desert Lark and was quickly photographed by several members of the group. The larks were very approachable and steady, careful stalking allowed close contact with a photogenic bird. Species noted around the picnic site and stream: Indian Roller (4), Isabelline Wheatear (1), Persian Wheatear (1), Hume's Wheatear (1), Little Green Bee-eater (4), Graceful Prinia (3), Tawny Pipit (4), Bluethroat (1), Pale Crag Martin (2), Purple Sunbird (2), Southern Grey Shrike (3), Common Kestrel (3), White Wagtail (6), White-spectacled Bulbul (1), White-cheeked Bulbul (12), Grey Heron (1), Common Mynah (5), Common Sandpiper (1), House Sparrow, Collared Dove, and Feral Pigeon. A Common Mynah was observed diving on grasshoppers into a thick, succulent forming a low patch of dense cover. Once one was caught, it flew a short distance to some grass where two White-spectacled Bulbuls flew in and attempted to steal the Mynah's prey!

 

Desert Lark, Green Mubazzarah © Fraser Simpson

 Desert Lark feeding in water-sprinkled grass at Green Mubazzarah park

 

 

GREEN MUBAZZARAH

Gorge further in at the southern end of the park

[24º 05' 55.9'' N  55º 44' 55.0'' E] 288m

Moving in to the gorge at the southern end of the park, the scrub was checked for warblers. A very obliging 1st-winter male Hooded Wheatear proved more than a distraction for me, so much so that I later missed Barbary Falcon and Sand Partridge as the main group caught up with these superb bird in the gorge. The scrub held Plain Leaf Warbler (1), Chiffchaff (2+), Lesser Whitethroat (1), and Eastern Black Redstart (4). The dry rocky slope to the west revealed Hooded Wheatear (2), Hume's Wheatear (3), Persian Wheatear (2), Little Green Bee-eater (2), Common Kestrel (1), and an Indian Roller mobbing a passing Grey Heron. A Plain Tiger (Danaus chrysippus) butterfly was the insect highlight here and a snake in the gorge seen by Mike Howes was later identified as a Wadi Racer (Coluber rhodorhachis).

 

Hooded Wheatear, Green Mubazzarah © Fraser Simpson

 A showy 1st-winter male Hooded Wheatear near the entrance to the gorge at Green Mubazzarah

 

 

AL AIN OASIS
[24º 13' 02.8'' N  55º 46' 40.1'' E] 293m
Large date palm plantation which provided some nice shade in the heat of the day after lunch. No new species were added to the trip list here: Little Green Bee-eater (3), Purple Sunbird (2), Graceful Prinia (3), Indian Silverbill (1), Chiffchaff (1), Lesser Whitethroat (1), Grey Francolin (7+), Accipiter sp. (1), White-cheeked Bulbul (several), Red-vented Bulbul (1), House Sparrow (common).

 

AIN Al FAYDA
[24º 04' 57.1'' N  55º 46' 00.9'' E] 239m

Due to the drought, the site Angus was looking for here seemed to have disappeared! While taking a track into the desert a 4x4 revved up with a couple of smartly attired arabs. Most of us, I think, suspected we may have been somewhere we shouldn't but the guys turned out to be very friendly and helpful and they knew of a site with water and birds! They even tried to get all 22 of us into the back of their pickup! After a joke involving an exchange of oil for Scottish water, we were soon scoping a shallow wetland (GPS position above) surrounded with mud: Marsh Sandpiper (1), Wood Sandpiper (9), Citrine Wagtail (4), Temminck's Stint (2), Kentish Plover (2), Eurasian Teal (6), Mallard (80+), Yellow Wagtail (1), White Wagtail (1), Crested Lark (2), White-spectacled Bulbul (4+), White-cheeked Bulbul (25+), Grey Francolin (5), House Sparrow (100+). At least 10 Vagrant Emperors were noted at this site. Novelties involved a Marabou Stork and a dead Egyptian Goose. As the sun set we decided to trace out tracks back to the main road before nightfall and after a couple of circles and failed attempts we headed back to the Hilton for our final night there.

 

 

Day 5
Thursday 13 November 2008
Al Ain > Ras Al Khor (Duabi Khor Wildlife Sanctuary) > Duabi > Al Safa Park > Mushrif National Park > Dubai


 

HIGHLIGHTS
Osprey, Western Reef Egret, Terek Sandpiper, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Greater Spotted Eagle, Lesser Sand Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Caspian Tern, Greater Flamingo, Red-wattled Lapwing, Olive-backed Pipit, Bruce's Scops Owl.

 

HILTON AL AIN
Common Mynah calling from balcony of my room again this morning, It was fairly easy to mimic and was certainly curious about entering the room! We departed from the Al Ain area this morning to our second base in Dubai.

Western Reef Egret, Ras al Khor, Dubai © Fraser Simpson

 A white-phase Western Reef Egret close to the Mangrove hide at Ras al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary in Dubai

 

 

AL AIN > DUBAI

Species noted on the drive NW on road E66 via Al Faqa: Little Green Bee-eater (1), Southern Grey Shrike (6), Hoopoe (2), Marsh Harrier (2), Osprey (1), Indian Roller (1), Common Kestrel (1), White-spectacled Bulbul, Psittacula sp., Laughing Dove, Collared Dove, White-cheeked Bulbul, and Cattle Egret (1).

 

MARQUB MOTORWAY SERVICE STATION: ROAD E66 
[25º 11' 27.1'' N  55º 18' 39.9'' E] 184

Pale Crag Martin (2), House Sparrow and Feral Pigeon.

 

RAS AL KHOR WILDLIFE SANCTUARY, DUBAI
[25º 11' 27.1'' N  55º 18' 39.9'' E]

1030h Also known as Khor Dubai this reserve occupies the head of the large tidal creek, five kilometres inland of the Gulf. It is a gem of a place with hundreds of waders and herons and very close views of Greater Flamingos. It was established as a wildlife sanctuary in 1985 after ornithological surveys revealed it to be internationally significant. The two hides, both with security wardens and 'scopes, were excellent for viewing and photographing birds from - not something manufacturers of hides in the UK always get right. This site lies close to the international airport for Dubai and with amount of migratory waders dependent on Ras Al Khor it is clear that this is one of the major migratory refuelling hubs for birds in the UAE.

 

Mangrove Hide:

The sheer volume of birds on view here meant we barely had time to assess numbers and thoroughly check the flocks. I probably missed many species and many distant birds were unidentifiable in the heat haze: Great Egret (21), Western Reef Egret (20+), Little Stint (1500+), Broad-billed Sandpiper (6+), Lesser Sand Plover (600+), Greater Sand Plover (10+), Kentish Plover (150+), Terek Sandpiper (1), Caspian Tern (14), Dunlin (200+), Curlew Sandpiper (13), Common Redshank (10+), Greenshank (10+), Temminck's Stint (1), Grey Heron (11), Little Green Bee-eater (4), Little Egret (1), Black-winged Stilt (10+), Greater Flamingo (35), Red-wattled Lapwing, Ringed Plover, Sandwich Tern (3), Spotted Redshank (1), Great Cormorant (12+), Northern Pintail (3), Northern Shoveler (3), Common Snipe (30+), Bar-tailed Godwit (4+), Curlew (15+), Common Teal (30+), Mallard (40+), Grey Plover (1), and Black-headed Gull.

On the raptor front, two Greater Spotted Eagles soaring in the same field of view of the World's tallest building was something else, but three Ospreys and a Marsh Harriers competed in the top predator stakes!

 

Waders at Ras al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary © Fraser Simpson

Huge mixed flock of waders at Ras al Khor against the Dubai skyline

 

 

RAS AL KHOR WILDLIFE SANCTUARY, DUBAI

Flamingo Hide:

The spectacle of the mass of Greater Flamingos was such a draw for photographs that I never really made time of our short visit here to check out the other species: Greater Flamingo (200+), Greater Spotted Eagle (2), Marsh Harrier (1), and Osprey (1) noted.

 

Greater Flamingos, Ras al Khor, Dubai © Fraser Simpson

 

Greater Flamingo, Ras al Khor, Dubai © Fraser Simpson

 

Greater Flamingos, Ras al Khor, Dubai © Fraser Simpson

 

Greater Flamingo, Ras al Khor, Dubai © Fraser Simpson

 Greater Flamingos at Ras al Khor, Dubai

 

 

AL BANDAR RESTAURANT, DUBAI

After lunch, a quick scan of the creek here produced: Caspian Gull (2), Heuglin's Gull (1), Slender-billed Gull (2), Black-headed Gull (17), House Crow, Common Mynah, and House Sparrow. Nine Cattle Egrets were observed on a nearby roundabout.

 

Common Mynah, Safa Park © Fraser Simpson

Common Mynah in Safa Park - an introduced species

 

 

AL SAFA PARK, DUBAI
[25º 11' 05.0'' N  55º 14' 35.1'' E]

Probably the most famous city park for urban birding in the UAE, Saffa Park has a mix of lawns, grassland, artificial lakes, tree-lined avenues, and patches of acacia and casuarina. Highlight here were the five Olive-backed Pipits feeding under a small copse with a ground cover clear of vegetation save for dead leaves. Species noted: Hoopoe (20+), Red-wattled Lapwing (5), Chiffchaff (6) including 3-4 Siberian tristis, Alexandrine Parakeet (10+), Grey Francolin (7), Ring-necked Parakeet (20), Common Mynah (200+), Red-vented Bulbul (2), Purple Sunbird (20+), House Crow (200+) forming a noisy roost at dusk, Grey Wagtail (1), White Wagtail (1), Common Sandpiper (7), Olive-backed Pipit (5).

 

House Crow, Safa Park © Fraser Simpson

House Crow in Safa Park - possibly another introduced species ?

 

Pied Mynah, Safa Park © Fraser Simpson

 Pied Mynah in Safa Park - yet another intro

 

 

MUSHRIF NATIONAL PARK, DUBAI
[25º 13' 25.0'' N  55º 27' 08.0'' E]

1750h Mushrif National Park is a 600 hectare reserve of natural woodland with Ghaf and Acacia. This site was visited for Otus brucei - aka Pale/Pallid/Striated/Bruce's Scops Owl! One was eventually heard and possibly briefly seen in flight. Much more cooperative was a Saw-scaled Viper (Echis carinatus). I initially didn't realise that this was a potentially dangerous viper as the eye pupil was circular, but in darkness this snake's usual 'slit' iris expands to compensate for the low light of night! It was initially seen 'side-winding' along the road before stopping to shelter against the kerb. An unidentified Gecko was also seen briefly.

 

Saw-scaled Viper, Mushrif National Park © Fraser Simpson

 Saw-scaled Viper after dark in Mushrif National Park

 

 

  

Day 6
Friday 14 November 2008
Dubai > Sharjah > Umm Al Quwain > Al Jazeerah Khor > Bin Majid Beach Hotel > Hamraniya Fields > Khatt


 

HIGHLIGHTS
Socotra Cormorant, Arabian Babbler, Crab Plover, Lesser Sand Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Western Reef Egret, Terek Sandpiper, Swift Tern, Lesser Crested Tern, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Pied Wheatear.

 

MAJESTIC HOTEL, DUBAI

Pale Crag Martin around the hotel 'tower' after breakfast.

 

DUBAI > SHARJAH > UMM AL QUWAIN

Species noted the drive NE on road E11: Collared Dove, Common Mynah, Laughing Dove, Feral Pigeon, Crested Lark, Greater Flamingo (6), large white-headed gull (250+), Grey Heron (6), Great Egret (1), House Sparrow, White-cheeked Bulbul, Barn Swallow (1), Mallard (2), Indian Roller (2), House Crow (30+), Socotra Cormorant (7S, 2N, 5S, 2N) as we approached Umm al Quwain breakwater.

 

UMM AL QUWAIN, ARABIAN GULF
[25º 35' 51.6'' N  55º 34' 33.1'' E]

Excellent vantage point for watching the daily movements of Socotra Cormorants in the gulf. At least 1000 birds passed, mainly to the north, in just over an hour here. Species noted from the beach just south of the breakwater: Swift Tern (1N at 0950h, 1N at 0955h, 1N at 0958h), Purple Heron (1), Western Reed Egret (2), Lesser Sand Plover (50+), Greater Sand Plover (20+), Kentish Plover (2), Sanderling (4), Turnstone (27), Dunlin (1), Common Sandpiper (1), Common Kestrel (1), Common Redshank (1), Heuglin's Gull, Crested Lark, Little Green Bee-eater (2), Hoopoe (1), and White Wagtail (1). Vagrant Emperor (Anax ephippiger); three males buzzing blue bag litter on the beach.

 

Socotra Cormorants, Umm al Quwain © Fraser Simpson

 Socotra Cormorants moving along the coast of the Persian Gulf at Umm al Quwain

 

 

UMM AL QUWAIN > AL JAZEERAH KHOR

Species noted the drive NE on road E11: Little Green Bee-eater (15), Brown-necked Raven on pylon, Pallid Swift (2), Grey Francolin (1), Red-wattled Lapwing (1), Indian Roller (1), Southern Grey Shrike (1), Pale Crag Martin (1), Laughing Dove and Collared Dove scarce in this area, Crested Lark, Feral Pigeon, House Sparrow and House Crow. Passing along around five miles of superb coastline at Khor al Beidah revealed thousands of migrant waders as well as Great Egret, Grey Heron and Greater Flamingo.

 

AL JAZEERAH KHOR
[25º 43'04.5'' N  55º 51' 15.6'' E] 10m

Southern end:

The shallow, saline lagoon here is one of the main sites for many people's target bird in the Emirates - Crab Plover! It turned out to be a disappointment with the only possible Crab Plovers being UTV's... 'white dots' about two miles away! Observations from the high roadside dune revealed many good birds though most were at some considerable range: Terek Sandpiper (34) were roosting in the pool at the foot of the dune; at least three Arabian Babblers were in scrub on the seaward slope of the dune; six Little Green Bee-eaters performed wonderfully in front of us; at least 240 Greater Flamingos in the tidal lagoons; a distant flock probably made up mostly of White-cheeked or Common Terns; plus Crested Tern, Spoonbill (2), Pale Crag Martin, Greenshank, Heuglin's Gull, Western Reef Egret, Great Egret, Grey Plover, Ringed Plover, Osprey, Marsh Harrier, Kentish Plover, Redshank, Grey Heron, House Sparrow and Collared Dove.

 

Little Green Bee-eater, Al Jazeerah Khor © Fraser Simpson

 Little Green Bee-eater resting in dune scrub at Al Jazeerah Khor

 

 

AL JAZEERAH KHOR
[25º 43' 39.4'' N  55º 52' 25.0'' E] 30m

Northern end:

After lunch at Bin Majid Beach Hotel we made another attempt for Crab Plover... the same birds we were trying to view before, but this time from a vantage point several kilometres north. The bus was stopped at a likely looking track heading over the dunes to the sea and Angus made a quick recce to the top of the dune to assess the situation... it was game on and we all piled up the dune to scope for Dromas. And the views really were much better as we watched at least 34 birds, many of them living up to their name and regularly dispatching of fiddler crags. This is one of those species that looks so much better than an illustration in a field guide and the Arabian light certainly helps to illuminate this striking wader. Probably bird of the trip for most observers!

Species noted: Swift Tern (70+), Lesser Crested Tern (4+), Slender-billed Gull (200+), Heuglin's Gull (60+), Steppe Gull (20+), Caspian Gull (10+), Oystercatcher (30+), Ringed Plover (30+), Greater Flamingo, Bar-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, Terek Sandpiper, Grey Plover (30+), Caspian Tern, Black-headed Gull, and Osprey.

 

Crab Plover site, Al Jazeerah Khor © Fraser Simpson

The north end of Al Jazeerah Khor where Crab Plovers showed well

 

 

AL JAZEERAH KHOR > HAMRANIYA

Species noted the drive: Little Green Bee-eater (4), Indian Roller (2), House Crow (40+), Common Mynah (13), Grey Francolin (3), White-cheeked Bulbul, Collared Dove (abundant), White Wagtail (1), and Barn Swallow (1).

 

Roadside petrol stop
[25º 37' 24.6'' N  55º 56' 38.1'' E] 12m

Late afternoon and a movement of sandgrouse was evident. They were too distant for ID but Chestnut-bellied most likely. Flocks from 1608h: 5 + 18 + 12 + 2 moving north over the airfield.

Scanned the ankle-high scrub with scattered bushes: Little Green Bee-eater (2), Indian Roller (1), Grey Francolin (4), Laughing Dove (4), Southern Grey Shrike (1), Crested Lark (1), Pale Crag Martin (1), Common Kestrel (1), Common Mynah, House Sparrow, and Collared Dove.

 

HAMRANIYA FIELDS
[25º 36' 36.2'' N  55º 55' 34.6'' E] 22m

Dry, dusty agricultural fields with occasional trees and bushes and irrigated fodder fields with Ghaf trees (Prosopis cineraria). Best bird here was probably the Scrub Warbler seen briefly by Keith Martin. Species noted: Red-wattled Lapwing (3), Graceful Prinia (2), Purple Sunbird (4), White-spectacled Bulbul, Little Green Bee-eater (3), Lesser Whitethroat (2), Tawny Pipit (2), Southern Grey Shrike (1), Eastern Black Redstart (1), Chiffchaff (1), Hoopoe (1), Crested Lark (1), Collared Dove, White-cheeked Bulbul, and Feral Pigeon.

 

KHATT

[25º 36' 58.0'' N  56º 00' 42.3'' E] 22m

Species noted the drive around the area: Hume's Wheatear perched on an acacia at the Ain Khath Tourist Resort, Southern Grey Shrike (2), and Little Green Bee-eater (3).

 

KHATT FIELDS
[25º 36' 41.4'' N  55º 58' 59.9'' E] 18m

The wetland areas at Khatt were completely dry so we tried some irrigated field in the fading light of the day. The newly mown grass, irrigated with sprinklers at the GPS location above provided two unexpected Pied Wheatears, Red-wattled Lapwing (10+), Indian Roller (2), Little Green Bee-eater (3), and Mallard (10+).

 

 

   

Day 7
Saturday 15 November 2008
Dubai > Masafi > Fujairah National Dairy Farm, Dibba > Fujairah > Khor Kalba > Dubai


 

HIGHLIGHTS
Sociable Lapwing, Greater Spotted Eagle, Richard's Pipit, Siberian Stonechat, Indian Pond Heron, White-collared Kingfisher, Sykes's Warbler, Bridled Tern, Sooty Gull, Saunders' Tern, White-cheeked Tern, Swift Tern, Back-crowned Finch Lark.

 

Lime Butterfly (Papilio demoleus) © Fraser Simpson

 The Lime Butterfly mud-puddling at Fujairah National Dairy Farm

 

 

FUJAIRAH NATIONAL DAIRY FARM, DIBBA
[25º 36' 08.7'' N  56º 14' 04.7'' E] 32m

This site is right on the border with Oman and some of the raptors observed were coming over the striking mountains just over the border. The irrigated fodder fields, cow pens, and small wet pools and ditches provided some great birding but time dictated that we could only cover part of the site and surely more good birds were present here. Of all the irrigated grasslands visited this week, the dairy farm has the lushest fields and greatest potential.

Highlights here included Sociable Lapwing (1), White-tailed Lapwing (1), Siberian Stonechat (2), Indian Pond Heron (1), Greater Spotted Eagle (1), Richard's Pipit (2), and Water Pipit (4). Good numbers of other species: Indian Roller (22), Red-wattled Lapwing (40+), Cattle Egret (48), Isabelline Shrike (1), Indian Silverbill (14+), White Stork (5), Common Teal (10), Eastern Black Redstart (1), Marsh Harrier (1), Ruff (5), Snipe sp., Graceful Prinia (1), Laughing Dove, House Crow, Common Mynah, White Wagtail, Collared Dove, Feral Pigeon, House Sparrow, Common Kestrel (2), Purple Sunbird, Hoopoe, and Crested Lark. Insects of note: Oasis Skimmer (Orthetrum sabina), Scarlet Dragonfly (Crocothemis erythraea), Plain Tiger (Danaus chrysippus) and an impressive swallowtail - the Lime Butterfly (Papilio demoleus) imbibing nutrients from cow dung and mud in the farmyard.

 

Sprinkler at Fujairah National Dairy Farm, © Fraser Simpson

 Water sprinkler in the fodder fields at Fujairah National Dairy Farm

 

Oasis Skimmer (Orthetrum sabina) © Fraser Simpson

 Oasis Skimmer resting at a tiny pool in the fodder fields at Fujairah National Dairy Farm

 

 

KHOR KALBA
[25º 00' 42.1'' N  56º 21' 45.0'' E] 0-6m
This mangrove tidal creek with extensive patches of Black Mangrove (Avicennia marina) on the Al Batinah coast on the Gulf of Oman is the site for the kalbaensis race of White-collared Kingfisher. This species was up there with Crab Plover in my ten most wanted UAE birds and despite developments pressures at this site it appears the birds are still easy to see. Within a minute of arriving I found one at the north eastern corner of the site. At least three birds were present and these big, impressive kingfishers regularly flew from dead branches on the edge of the mangroves to plunge on to crabs in the muddy creek. As with fish-eating species, these birds returned to a perch and beat the crabs off a branch before getting to the flesh. An impressive number of 18 Indian Pond Herons were feeding out on the mud, far from the cover of vegetation. A wee broon bird (LBJ) attracted attention in a lone mangrove tree on the bank of the north side. It eventually flew to some nearby scrub, before returning to the mangrove tree. All ID features pointed to Sykes's Warbler - lucky indeed as our time here, as always, was limited and a proper search of the mangroves further up the creek seemed unlikely.

Other species noted: Terek Sandpiper (7), Common Kingfisher (1), Osprey (1), Greater Sand Plover (7), Lesser Sand Plover (5), Kentish Plover (3), Tawny Pipit (2), Black-winged Stilt (4), Common Redshank (1), Greenshank (5), Curlew (2), Whimbrel (10+), and White Wagtail.

 

KALBA BEACH & DUNES
[25º 00' 45.8'' N  56º 22' 08.7'' E] 0-3m
Despite the constant noise and distraction of boys on their quad toys the scene offshore was quite stunning with huge numbers of terns and gulls. Bridled Tern (abundant), Swift Tern (numerous), Lesser Crested Tern (100+), Sooty Gull, Saunders' Tern, Slender-billed Gull, Arctic Tern (3), Common Tern and White-cheeked Tern (60+). In the dunes we found a Desert Wheatear and seven Black-crowned Finch Larks (3 mm + 4 ff/imms).

 

KALBA HARBOUR
[25º 01' 42.9'' N  56º 21' 59.3'' E] 0-3m
Large numbers of birds starting to roost on the exposed mud in the last hour of daylight. Regularly disturbed by an Arctic Skua which eventually came to rest on an oil drum. The mixed congregation contained: Sooty Gull, Swift Tern, Lesser Crested Tern, Sandwich Tern, Saunders' Tern, Common Tern, White-cheeked Tern, Slender-billed Gull, Heuglin's Gull, Steppe Gull, Caspian Gull, Greenshank, Kentish Plover, Lesser Sand Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Ringed Plover, Whimbrel, Black-headed Gull and Oystercatcher. A dark-phase Western Reed Egret and Arabian Red Fox hunted around the edge of the throng. A Great Cormorant also flew south.

 

Drive through HAJAR MOUNTAINS to DUBAI
[25º 01' 42.9'' N  56º 21' 59.3'' E] 0-3m
Two Hume's Wheatears were noted in the fading light, signalling the end of a fantastic week.

 

 Egyptian Vulture, Brown-necked Raven, Black-crowned Finch Lark, Indian Roller & Hoopoe © Fraser Simpson

 More birds from the trip

 

 

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Species List 9-15 November 2008


 top of page

 

 

seen/heard by other members of the group

 

seen/heard by me

 

 

09th    Jebel Hafeet, Hotel Grand Mercure, Green Mubazzarah
10th    Lahbab Fields, Hatta, Qarn Nazwa
11th    Ghantoot, Abu Dhabi Eastern Lagoon, Al Wathba camel race track
12th    Green Mubazzara, Al Ain Oasis, Ain Al Fayda lake
13th    Ras Al Khor, Al Safa Park, Mushrif National Park, Dubai
14th    Umm Al Quwain, Al Jazeerah Khor, Hamraniya Fields, Khatt

15th    Fujairah National Dairy Farm, Dibba, Khor Kalba

 

 

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

Persian Shearwater

Puffinus lherminieri persicus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Cormorant

Phalacrocorax carbo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Socotra Cormorant

Phalacrocorax nigrogularis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grey Heron

Ardea cinerea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purple Heron

Ardea purpurea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Egret

Egretta alba

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Egret

Egretta garzetta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Western Reef Heron

Egretta gularis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cattle Egret

Bubulcus ibis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indian Pond Heron

Ardeola grayii

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White Stork

Ciconia ciconia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eurasian Spoonbill

Platalea leucorodia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greater Flamingo

Phoenicopterus roseus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eurasian Teal

Anas crecca crecca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mallard

Anas platyrhynchos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Northern Pintail

Anas acuta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Northern Shoveler

Anas clypeata

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Osprey

Pandion haliaetus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Kite

Milvus migrans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Egyptian Vulture

Neophron percnopterus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short-toed Eagle

Circaetus gallicus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Western Marsh Harrier

Circus aeruginosus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eurasian Sparrowhawk

Accipiter nisus nisus

 

 

 

 

?

 

 

Greater Spotted Eagle

Aquila clanga

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Kestrel

Falco tinnunculus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barbary Falcon

Falco pelegrinoides

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chukar Partridge

Alectoris chukar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sand Partridge

Ammoperdix heyi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crab Plover

Dromas ardeola

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eurasian Oystercatcher

Haematopus ostralegus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black-winged Stilt

Himantopus himantopus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pied Avocet

Recurvirostra avosetta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cream-coloured Courser

Cursorius cursor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red-wattled Lapwing

Vanellus indicus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sociable Lapwing

Vanellus gregarius

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White-tailed Lapwing

Vanellus leucurus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grey Plover

Pluvialis squatarola

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Ringed Plover

Charadrius hiaticula

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kentish Plover

Charadrius alexandrinus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lesser Sand Plover

Charadrius mongolus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greater Sand Plover

Charadrius leschenaultii

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Snipe

Gallinago gallinago

 

 

 

 

 

 

?

Bar-tailed Godwit

Limosa limosa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whimbrel

Numenius phaeopu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eurasian Curlew

Numenius arquata

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spotted Redshank

Tringa erythropus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Redshank

Tringa totanus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marsh Sandpiper

Tringa stagnatilis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Greenshank

Tringa nebularia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wood Sandpiper

Tringa glareola

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terek Sandpiper

Xenus cinereus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Sandpiper 

Actitis hypoleucos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ruddy Turnstone 

Arenaria interpres

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sanderling

Calidris alba

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Stint

Calidris minuta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Temminck's Stint

Calidris temminckii

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Curlew Sandpiper

Calidris ferruginea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dunlin

Calidris alpina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Broad-billed Sandpiper

Limicola falcinellus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ruff

Philomachus pugnax

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arctic Skua

Stercorarius parasiticus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sooty Gull

Larus hemprichii

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caspian Gull

Larus cachinnans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steppe Gull

Larus barabensis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heuglin’s Gull

Larus heuglini

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black-headed Gull 

Larus ridibundus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slender-billed Gull 

Larus geneii

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caspian Tern

Sterna caspia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lesser Crested Tern

Sterna bengalensis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sandwich Tern

Sterna sandvicensis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swift Tern

Sterna bergii

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Tern

Sterna hirundo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saunders' Tern

Sterna saundersi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White-cheeked Tern

Sterna repressa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bridled Tern

Sterna anaethetus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse

Pterocles exustus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse

Pterocles lichtensteinii

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rock Dove (feral)

Columba livia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eurasian Collared Dove

Streptopelia decaocto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laughing Dove

Streptopelia senegalensis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pallid Scops Owl

Otus brucei

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pharaoh Eagle-owl

Bubo ascalaphus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Swift

Apus apus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pallid Swift

Apus pallidus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Collared Kingfisher 

Halcyon chloris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Kingfisher

Alcedo atthis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Green Bee-eater

Merops orientalis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indian Roller

Coracias benghalensis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eurasian Hoopoe

Upupa epops

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black-crowned Finch-lark

Eremopterix nigriceps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bar-tailed Lark

Ammomanes cincturus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Desert Lark

Ammomanes deserti

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bimaculated Lark

Melanocorypha bimaculata

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crested Lark

Galerida cristata

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barn Swallow

Hirundo rustica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pale Crag Martin

Ptyonoprogne obsoleta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Richard's Pipit

Anthus richardi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tawny Pipit 

Anthus campestris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meadow Pipit

Anthus pratensis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Olive-backed Pipit

Anthus hodgsoni

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Water Pipit

Anthus spinoletta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White Wagtail  (alba & personata)

Motacilla alba

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yellow Wagtail

Motacilla flava

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Citrine Wagtail

Motacilla citreola

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grey Wagtail

Motacilla cinerea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White-spectacled Bulbul

Pycnonotus xanthopygos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Rock Thrush

Monticola solitarius

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bluethroat

Luscinia svecica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Redstart 

Phoenicurus ochruros

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Siberian Stonechat 

Saxicola maura

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hooded Wheatear

Oenanthe monacha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hume's Wheatear

Oenanthe alboniger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mourning Wheatear

Oenanthe lugens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Variable Wheatear

Oenanthe picata

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pied Wheatear

Oenanthe pleschanka

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Persian Wheatear

Oenanthe chrysopygia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Desert Wheatear

Oenanthe deserti

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isabelline Wheatear

Oenanthe isabellina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scrub Warbler

Scotocerca inquieta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graceful Prinia

Prinia gracilis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Reed Warbler

Acrocephalus arundinaceus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sykes's Warbler

Hippolais rama

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler

Hippolais pallida

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chiffchaff

Phylloscopus collybita

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Siberian Chiffchaff

Phylloscopus tristis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plain Leaf Warbler

Phylloscopus neglectus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lesser Whitethroat

Sylvia curruca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arabian Babbler

Turdoides squamiceps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purple Sunbird

Cinnyris asiaticus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isabelline Shrike

Lanius isabellinus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Southern Grey Shrike

Lanius meridionalis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Masked Shrike

Lanius nubicus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

House Crow

Corvus splendens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brown-necked Raven

Corvus ruficollis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

House Sparrow

Passer domesticus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indian Silverbill

Lonchura malabarica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trumpeter Finch

Rhodopechys githaginea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Category C - introduced and established resident breeding species

Grey Francolin

Francolinus pondicerianus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alexandrine Parakeet

Psittacula eupatria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rose-ringed Parakeet

Psittacula krameri

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White-eared Bulbul

Pycnonotus leucotis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red-vented Bulbul

Pycnonotus cafer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bank Myna

cridotheres ginginianus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Myna

Acridotheres tristis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pied Myna 

Gracupica contra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birding at dusk, Ain al Fayda © Fraser Simpson

 Birding Ain al Fayda at sunset

 

  

 

 All photographs © 2008  F. S. Simpson

Fraser's Birding Website · www.fssbirding.org.uk

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Al Jazeerah Khor (Crab Plover, Arabian Babbler, Terek Sandpiper, Swift Tern) Umm al Quwain (Socotra Cormorant, Purple Heron, Western Reed Egret, Lesser Sand Plover, Greater Sand Plover) Hamraniyah Fields (Red-wattled Lapwing, Gracefu Prinia, Purple Sunbird, White-spectacled Bulbul, Little Green Bee-eater, Tawny Pipit, Southern Grey Shrike) Khatt Fields (Pied Wheatear, Red-wattled Lapwing, Indian Roller,Little Green Bee-eater) Fukairah National Dairy Farm (Sociable Plover, White-tailed Plover, Siberian Stonechat, Indian Pond Heron, Greater Spotted Eagle, Richard's Pipit, Water Pipit, Isabelline Shrike) Mushrif Narional Park (Bruce's Scops Owl, Saw-scaled Viper) Safa Park (Olive-backed Pipit, Hoopoe, Red-wattled Lapwing, Siberian Chiffchaff, Grey Francolin, Ring-necked Parakeet, Common Mynah, Red-vented Bulbul, Purple Sunbird, House Crow, Grey Wagtail) Ras al Khor (Great Egret, Western Reef Egret, Little Stint, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Lesser Sand Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Kentish Plover, Terek Sandpiper, Caspian Tern, Little Green Bee-eater, Black-winged Stilt, Greater Flamingo, Red-wattled Lapwing) Khor Kalba (White-collared Kingfisher, Indian Pond Heron, Sykes's Warbler, Terek Sandpiper) Lahbab Fields (Southern Grey Shrike, Isabelline Shrikes, Little Green Bee-eater, Red-wattled Lapwing, Indian Roller, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler) Qarn Nazwa (Pharaoh Eagle Owl, Variable Wheatear) Ghantoot (Cream-coloured Courser, Tawny Pipit) Hatta Fort Hotel (Purple Sunbird, Indian Silverbill, Indian Roller, Pale Rock Martin, Hume's Wheatear) Hatta Dam (Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse, Short-toed Eagle, Brown-necked Raven, Hume's Wheatear, Persian Wheatear) Saif Restaurant (Black-crowned Finch-Lark, Marsh Harrier, Laughing Dove) Petrol stop (10 Nov) (Masked Wagtail, Sand Skink) Abu Dhabi Eastern Lagoon (Greater Spotted Eagle, White-tailed Lapwing, Citrine Wagtail, Water Pipit, Marsh Harrier) Al Wathba Camel Racetrack (Desert Wheatear, Isabelline Wheatear, Tawny Pipit, Trumpeter Finch, Yellow Wagtail, Marsh Harrier, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Bimaculated Lark) Gran Mercure Hotel (Plain Leaf Warbler, Eastern Black Redstart, Blue Rock Thrush, Pale Crag Martin) Ain al Fayda (Marsh Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Citrine Wagtail, Temminck's Stint, Kentish Plover) Al Ain Oasis (Little Green Bee-eater, Purple Sunbird, Graceful Prinia, Indian Silverbill, Chiffchaff, Lesser Whitethroat, Grey Francolin) Green Mubazzarah (Barbary Falcon, Sand Partridge, Plain Leaf Warbler, Hooded Wheatear, Bluethroat, Desert Lark, Indian Roller, Isabelline Shrike, Persian Wheatear, Hume's Wheatear, Little Green Bee-eater, Graceful Prinia, Tawny Pipit, Bluethroat, Pale Crag Martin, Purple Sunbird, Southern Grey Shrike) Jebel Hafeet (Egyptian Vulture, Hume's Wheatear, Desert Lark, Brown-necked Raven)