Sunday, 15 January 2012

Searching for M & M's: a sweet day out!

Rob & I set off from my place around 7am for our jaunt to Al Ain. The purpose of this little trip was of course, to see Marbled Duck & Moustached Warbler for the year. Oscar had re-found the duck, the day before and in the process, found 2 Moustached Warblers. Not bad going at all! Well done Oscar!

As we drove, the weather deterioated. From being a bright sunny morning, the wind increased and sand began to blow. A real Shamal in the making! This could be a problem, as Zakker Pools, where the duck was, is very large, we might not be able to see far enough across!

Marbled Duck: photo courtesy of Dave Clark.

We arrived at around 8.30am and saw Simon & Dave scoping the duck. We ran over and got decent views in the scope. Then got my scope out for a more leisurely viewing. The duck had other ideas! It flew around with a flock of Mallard and promptly vanished! It was nice to get good flight views though. When it was on the water, it was surprisingly difficult to pick out. A big thanks to Simon, who had been there since dawn and first saw the duck.
Rob and I then moved around to the other side, for the Moustached Warblers. They were calling occasionally and Dave & Rob managed fleeting views. I had to wait a little longer, to get full head on views, for a split second, as it responded to the tape. We could hear two birds, but with the rising wind & swaying reeds, viewing was problematic.
Rob lost his cap to the increasing wind and spent the next ten minutes being inventive to get it out of the lake! I can tell you, he wasn’t tickled pink!

Rob, inventing the stick!

Success is sweet! But not as sweet as M & M's!
 A happy man!
We then moved to Green Mubazzarah and in particular, the back wadi. Things were quiet, but the male Hooded Wheatear was obliging. This species can be frustratingly difficult to see here, as it roams over a huge territory. Sand Partridge, and Desert Lark were also added to the list.

Birding in the very stark, back wadi.

Rob, just off the set of the latest
 Indiana Jones movie!.

A superb, male Hooded Wheatear.
Please note, this photo was taken
on top of Jebel Hafeet, at the hotel.

A quick drive up the mountain saw us viewing around 16 Egyptian Vultures and this time prolonged views of another Sand Partridge.

Jebel Hafeet, is a major stronghold
for Egyptian Vulture in the UAE.

But, it really was very unpleasant up there, so we beat a retreat to the entrance to Wadi Tarabat. Red-tailed Wheatear; Desert and Menetries Warblers were welcome additions to the year list.

Asian Desert Warbler.
Time to drive home and get out of the blowing sand. Thanks for your company Rob.

10 species added (total 189): 340 kms travelled.

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