Sunday, 15 April 2012

Migration is in full flow!

I am feeling a little smug, from yesterdays outing. Two species which are always hard to get on your year list: Bay backed Shrike and Savi's Warbler in the bag! But there is no time for complacency, I am missing several species which have been seen in the last few days with White throated Robin topping this most wanted list! Now, Abu Dhabi Island is as good as anywhere for scarce migrants. In previous years, I wouldn't have been so anxious, but with the destruction of Khalidiyah Spit and so many other vagrant hot spots. I have only seen 4 out of my 15 scarce spring migrants to date. So, plenty of scope for improvement here then! I guess I will just have to go birding!
Robin meets me down at the MPG's and just like Basil Faulty, we are going to give it a good thrashing! I get out of the car & immediately find a superb male Semi-collared Flycatcher! It's a cracker!

Great for the year list!
Semi-collared Flycatcher - a very scarce migrant in the UAE.

It was quite exciting walking around, as it was very apparent that a small arrival had taken place. 2 Rufous Bush Robin; 5 Common Redstart; Great Reed Warbler; 12 Willow Warbler; 2 Lesser Whitethroat; 9 Eastern Olivaceous Warblers; Upchers'Warbler; 2 Masked Shrikes and the Cuckoo was still present! Two Crested Honey Buzzards still present around the Palace.

This Common Cuckoo is an hepatic phase female.
Notice, the unbarred rump, which rules out rarer species.
However, the bird is two shades paler
than hepatic canorus race.

The quick route march around the AD Racecourse revealed suprisingly few migrants: 35 Red-throated Pipits and Northern Wheatear. A nice male Lesser Kestrel flew over at dusk.

1 species added (267 species total): 80 kms travelled.

Carol picked me up & we went to The Club. Carol to do a Zumba dance class & me to go to the gym. However, I wasn't feeling on top form, so while Carol was zumbering away, (is that a real word)? I stole off to Saadiyat Golf Club, which is a mere gull's wing length away. It was quiet, with a Northern Wheatear and 2 Common Redstarts being the best migrants.

0 species added (267 species total): 100 kms travelled.

Robin & I went to the Emirates Palace Hotel this afternoon. Migrants were few & far between, but we eventually got a decent tally: 4 Blue cheeked Bee-eaters; 7 Red throated & a Tree Pipit; a Rufous tailed Rock Thrush; a nice male Whinchat; 3 Common Redstart; 9 Willow Warbler; 2 Lesser Whitethroat; 1 Upcher's Warbler; 7 Ortolan Buntings.

1 species added (268 species total): 80 kms travelled.

Today, I had a great slice of fortune. The environmental awards cermony, which I was due to attend as a winner, was postponed until next Sunday. This meant I could twitch the goodies in Dubai & Sharjah! So, I fired up the chariot & off I went. I arrived at the Dubai Pivot Fields and saw the Caspian Plover in all its summer regalia. What a stunner!

It is just great to see this species in spring.
They really are, quite special!

Not top quality photos! But I spent less than
 five minutes at the Pivots!

There were also a nice group of 23 Collared Pratincoles nearby. Yet another year tick!

Collared Pratincole

I left in a hurry & negioated the traffic on my drive to Mamzar Park in Sharjah. It took me a few minutes to get my bearings & then it was there; a splendid male White-throated Robin!
White-throated Robin

An absolute gem of a bird!
It performed very nicely

This was a big target year bird for me. White-throated Robins are very scarce spring pasage migrants here, over a very narrow period of time. They are much rarer in autumn. So, it was a big relief to get this individual. 2 Wryneck; 9 Common Redsart and a Masked Shrike were also present.
A big thank you to both Simon & Neil, without whose help, I wouldn't have had such a great afternoon. Thanks guys, much appreciated.
 I drove home very happy & arrived for cocktails, around the pool at 18.05 hrs with Carol.  Not a bad ending to a good day!

3 species added (271 species total): 400 kms travelled.

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