Thursday, 11 May 2017

Egyptian Nightjar



Mark, Oscar & Maarten

The area where the roost is.

Oscar picked me up from Al Reef Villas on 10th May & we met up with Mark & Maarten who were already at the site. This is a area of tamarisk desert & semi desert intermixed with a few farms. Oscar & Mark found Egyptian Nightjar breeding here a couple of years ago. This is a terrific record for the UAE.

So well camouflaged!


This individual could well be a juvenile.






Juvenile individual.
It appears pairs breed in the open desert 
& then young go to a nearby nursery area, 
where there is a communal roost.
Photo courtesy of Mark Smiles.

There are probably around 10-12 pairs scattered over a wide area here. Tonight we heard & saw three males singing + another eight birds at a daytime roost. It was a lovely evening walking in the desert, temperature not too high & low humidity: perfect!

Rufous Bush Chat

Also saw three Rufous Bush Chat & a lone European Roller.

Arabian Hare

There appears to be a good density
 of this species in this area.


Those ears are amazing!

Sunday, 7 May 2017

East coast birding in the UAE

Arrived back in Abu Dhabi early morning on 4th May. The flight was fine, but they lost my baggage! After a couple of hours waiting, finally received my bag, went home to Clare's & fell into bed for a few hours! Spent the evening with Clare in the garden, catching up on our respective news.

Striated Heron

This bird was fishing in the harbour.


19 Eurasian Curlews dropped in to the harbour.


Abdullah & myself.


The pelagic crew: 5th May.
Photo courtesy of Huw Roberts.

Map of the route.
Courtesy of Jacky Judas.

Jouanin's Petrel

These birds were in nice crisp plumage.
Much better than the moulting individuals
 in seen in autumn/winter.

Next day I drove to Kalba met up with the others, & jumped on to Abdullah's new boat. It is a cracker! We decided to go far out (around 58 kms offshore) & the first two hours were pretty grim! Virtually no birds at all. We continued further out to sea & soon saw the first Jouanin's Petrels. The total for the day was 84 birds, which is unprecedented in spring for these waters. In fact, I can't think of any previous spring records. We still have a lot to learn about seabirds in the UAE.

Persian Shearwater





Local fishermen, catching Tuna.

Bridled Terns




Bridled Tern on the left. Immature Sooty Tern
on the right.


Immature Sooty Tern

There were a scattering of Persian Shearwaters, eventually we totaled 23 birds for the day.. We kept checking on the local tuna boats & in among the Bridled Terns we saw an immature Sooty Tern. 

Arctic Skua

Lesser crested  Tern




Dusk, just before getting back into harbour.

We headed back inshore & patrolled the area between Fujairah & Kalba at dusk.  Among the small parties of terns fishing was a lone Arctic Skua. Other birds seen included 9 Little Terns & 7 Red necked Phalaropes. It was a great afternoon out & nice to see everyone again.

The view from the farm into the mountains.

Jacky.

 I spent the night at Jacky's house & we birded Wamm Farms early morning on 6th May. It was hot but windy & the humidity was quite low. Birding was quiet:

Rufous bush Chat

This individual was very confiding.




This bird was singing.

Upcher's Warbler

This species has a very protracted spring migration
 & can be recorded very late.

Northern Palm Squirrel

This species has been recently
 introduced to the UAE.

5 Lesser Kestrel; 2 Bonelli's Eagle; 5 Chestnut bellied Sandgrouse; Turtle Dove; 4 Rufous Bush Chat; Isabelline Wheatear; 3 Upcher's Warbler; Olivaceous Warbler & Common Whitethroat. We then called it a morning & I drove back to Abu Dhabi & spent the afternoon at The Club.