Wednesday, 2 October 2013

July Round Up

I am writing this fourteen months after the event - it is a brief catch up post! I was lucky enough to spend a few days up in the mountains behind Fujairah, conducting a survey along the newly constructed oil pipeline, which my employer (ADCO) has just taken over the management of. It is an amazing feat of engineering, but the downside is it opens the former pristine mountain environment to disturbance of all kinds.

The security track runs parallel to the pipeline
 for the whole way.
An amazing engineering feat, 
through very difficult terrain.

There are some sections which are very severe!
Our trusty mode of transport!
There are many Archaeological sites in these mountains.
Here, Anoop is logging the position of one  in order
 that we may come back later and fence it off to protect it.

What we try & do to protect these sites.
Old & more modern technology, 
all help to get water to the surface.
Looking east from a high point.
The team: Anoop; Andrew; Mohammed & Saleh.

Best birds were: a soaring Short-toed Eagle; a pair of Bonelli's Eagles and a pair of the increasingly rare Barbary Falcons. A welcome record was the first conclusive proof of Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters actually breeding in these mountains - fledged young being fed by the pair of adults. But the best bird for my year list was a flyover Trumpeter Finch.

Short-toed Eagle - an increasingly rare 
breeding bird in the UAE.
A very distant, heavily cropped Barbary Falcon.

The afternoon of the 12th saw me at Fujairah National Dairy Farm watching an adult Crested Honey Buzzard. 5 Litchenstein's Sandgrouse and early Turkestan and Woodchat Shrikes were also present.

A male & two female Litchenstein's Sandgrouse.

On the 13th, it was a welcome relief to escape the oppressive heat and go offshore on Abdulla's boat.
6 Wilson's Petrels were to be expected, but 2 Long-tailed Skuas were most welcome and unexpected at this time of year! 

Wilson's Petrel, showing those toes sticking out!
 The first of the Long-tailed Skuas
Still, the first bird.
The second Long-tailed Skua
You can see all the identification features
 in the photos.
A really great bird.

Another pelagic on 27th rounded the month off rather well with another first summer Long-tailed Skua and 9 Wilson's Petrels.
Not one of my best - but it is a Long-tailed Skua!

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