Monday, 6 February 2012

“It’s been a day of two halves, Brian!”

It is Saturday, I am in bed and it is daylight outside! First time for everything, I suppose! Nice egg butty & coffee for breakfast, a leisurely morning, then a picnic in the desert in the afternoon with a few friends.  A perfect day!

But there is a nagging doubt in my mind. I can’t really settle to do anything. I am thinking about those quackers, in the Green Community. I have been twice, dipped twice, a perfect record! Carol announces (out of the blue), that she has an appointment at the hairdressers. Now, this can take anything from two, to fours hours! Before one can say have a nice time dear, she is in the car driving to Abu Dhabi and two minutes later, I am driving to Dubai, again!

When I was there yesterday, I met Mike Barth, he said he wanted better photos and would check out the pool this morning. I am passing Ghantoot, at just under the speed of sound, when the phone rings. It’s Mike, and both birds are there. Yes! The Toyota Yaris, tries to go faster, but fails miserably. Mike, (bless him) waited over 35 minutes for me to arrive, before approaching the pool. These birds are quite famous for waving their wings goodbye, as they depart, at the slightest disturbance. Thanks for waiting mate, I really appreciate it!

I arrive & meet up with Mike. I resist the temptation to slam the car door, or even honk the horn, to let him know I am there! We both peer between the reeds, Mike spots them, I spot the back of his little bald head!
Seconds later, I forgive him, as he waves one finger & points to a spot, just hidden from where I am standing. My neck extends like a giraffe’s, and I am now looking, at a fine male, Red-crested Pochard. For the first time that morning, I can afford to smile. It is in the bag! Photos are taken and on cue, the birds depart, for their unknown destination.

The prize. At last! Got ya!

See ya!

  The female, following the male.
He must have the Visa card!

The whole area is anything but a green community! The natural desert has been totalled trashed by ugly developments of all kinds. Jon Iversen who lives there (& the finder of the quackers), describes the area as scabland! You see ,the real estate agents have got it wrong. Come buy rent & live in Scabland, far better than the Green Community. People would be buying in droves!

Tiny patches of natural desert, are home to a colony of Red Thumb fungi (Orobanche cooperi). It  is among the UAE's few edible plants, with a long history of use as food and drink. It is also a parasitic plant, with no chlorophyll and thus, no green foliage, but dark purple, cone-like blooms. Its other common names, include tarthuth and desert broomrape.

Edible? A rival to KFC?

Mike and I talk. I tell him my plan for the afternoon. He asks to tag along. No problem. We arrange to meet around 3.30 pm. I arrive home in MBZ City and get all the stuff ready for the picnic, Carol arrives with a wonderful hair-do! But, will it scare off the Bar-tailed Larks? Which of course, is the main purpose of this little get-together!

The habitat.

More habitat! Bar-tailed Larks like the little rocky ridges
 & the more stony desert, between the sand dunes.

The searching! 

We meet up with Andrew T. Mike and his wife, Lynden, arrive a little later. I decide to walk around, the others to drive. Greater Hoopoe-lark falls on to my year list. But no sign of the little uns!

Nice, but not what I am looking for! 

I receive my second call from Mike. He informs me he has found a small flock of birds, they could be Desert Larks, or, our main prey. I inform him that Desert Larks aren’t found here, only in the distant mountains. So please, come & pick me up! (the two girls were using my car, as a base for chatter & frolicking in the dunes)! A short time later, we spot the Bar-tailed Larks. Excellent work Mike! You are starting to get the hang of this birding thing!

The little beauty!

Andrew - looking a little bit like Bill Nighy!

Bill Nighy, look for the field marks.
Do not confuse the two!

Andrew & Carol, looking at something really funny!
 I fear that it might be me!

We return to the girls, for beer and much needed food. Mike & Lynden have to leave, they are going to a Billy Ocean concert in Dubai. I must have looked doubtful, because Lynden, even does a little Billy Ocean dance for me!

Bar-tailed Larks and then this!

How do you turn a duck, into a soul singer in an hour & half?
Put it into the oven, until it's Bill Withers!
(I am not clever enough to think of a Billy Ocean connection)!
Answers on a postcard please to......

Stop press!

A new species of owl, has been discovered in the San Francisco Bay area. It has an unusual reddish plumage. Scientists are thinking of naming it Otus redding!

It’s definitely been a day of two halves, Brian!

3 species added (217 total) 460 kms travelled.

No comments:

Post a Comment