Saturday, 12 May 2012

I love Boobies!

It's Friday again & I meet up with Mark, at Fujairah National Dairy Farm. Hopes of a cooler morning's walk are dashed, as the humidity rockets and it is not even 7 am! We work the roadside bushes, the cattle farm & finally the goat farm. Birding is slow but gradually we accumulate species: female Montague's Harrier; Little Bittern; Purple Heron; 25 Chestnut bellied (and for Mark) a male Litchenstein's Sandgrouse; 15 European Roller; 4 European & 7 Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters; 7 Spotted Flycatcher; an acredula Willow Warbler; 5 Common Whitethroat and 83 Marsh Warbler.
We then moved down the coast. I pulled over for a quick cat nap and then I arrived at Fujairah Port Beach to view the whale.

A decomposing Sperm Whale just offshore in Fujairah.

It had been found a few days previously and as floating 50m offshore in the bay. A Sperm Whale, but from the beach you couldn't see very much. A sad end for a magnificant animal. Plenty of activity ofshore from the beach with over 700 Sooty Gulls & loads of terns feeding and loafing around.
We all meet up and punctually we are away on Abdullah's boat. one of his friends tells of a large black & white bird sat on a buoy! We search it out and find it! A fine Masked Booby! As you can see it affords us all crippling views & the cameras start clicking! A good one for my year list, as this species is never guaranteed in any one year. In fact, I think it is only my fourth siting since I have been in the UAE.

Masked Booby

The sea is much more alive with birds than last week. We find over 350 Persian Shearwaters, 55 Red-necked Phalaropes, a few Swift Terns and plenty of full summer plumage Sooty Gulls.

Summer plumage Sooty Gull

Swift Tern
A skua dashes away, I couldn't identify it on my views. But it makes us alert and I spot another skua coming inbound! A fantastic first summer intermediate morph Long tailed Skua! It circles the boat & we all get good photos.

Long-tailed Skua & Sooty Gull
Undwerwing showing nicely!

Several of the most important identification points
 can be seen in this photo.
Later 2 Arctic Skuas are seen sat on a buoy & the water, giving good comparisons in jizz etc. The light starts to fade, but we spot another skua! This time the chase is on, it is going away from us. Abdullah does some great boat handling & we pull up along side the bird at high speed. It proves to be a light morph first summer Long-tailed Skua! I get terrible photos, but Mike, Khalifa & Huw do better than me.

Quite a good day out, made special by the Masked Booby and the 2 Long-tailed Skuas. 

Of course, we can always dream for something a little different!

1 species added (288 species total): 625 kms travelled.

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