Tuesday, 22 October 2013

March 2013 round up

We returned from South Africa & suddenly the season  has turned from winter (when we left the UAE) to spring. March is a wonderful month  here, lots of fine plumaged migrants passing through & great weather.
 This time around not too much birding, spending a lot of time with Carol. She is still working & struggling on. One Friday afternoon she went out with the library girls from school for a brunch. They had a fine old time, because when I picked her up she was definitely the worse for wear! I fear the lunchtime martinis may have done the trick!
A trip to Al Qua on the 4th was quite productive. The Steppe Buzzard was still present along with 2 Pallid Harriers & yet another Peregrine. This winter has been amazing for this species. 3 beautifully plumaged Red-rumped Swallows were a taste of spring.

 Pallid Harrier

Red-rumped Swallow
A quick trip to Kor Al Beidae on 9th produced the expected Great Knot, this time 23 of them in fine summer plumage. Quite a sight. The Dubai Pivot Fields held a few migrants but it was the displaying White-tailed Lapwings which stole the show. Obviously getting ready for breeding yet again at this site.

 White-tailed Lapwing
an increasingly common breeding species these days.

Wonderful Grey Hypocolius

Captain Martin took Rob & myself out to Lulu Island in the boat on 15th. It was more of a social trip & we had a great time. We did a little birding a logged 90 Grey Hypocolius & a fine summer plumaged male Caspian Stonechat. An ominous sign was that for the first time Carol didn't feel well enough to come with us. She spent a quiet afternoon at home by the pool. I joined her later & we sat talking for a while, into the cool evening.
Carol had a check up in Al Ain at Twam Hospital again on 22nd. I drove her there & afterwards we went to Zakher Pools for a picnic. A pair of Long-legged Buzzards were displaying over the far dunes. This is a very rare breeding species in the UAE. I wonder if they will stay & breed?

Long-legged Buzzard

It is Monday 25th & Carol & I are at the Club. The phone rings! Simon & Oscar have a fine male Red-headed Bunting at the Emirates Palace Hotel. I am off driving through the rain, along the corniche. I arrive, they haven’t seen it for a while, I look up & spot movement. It is feeding, half hidden in the tree. A great result! They all look a little stunned, as I then run for the car & leave the scene after only watching the bird for around 30 seconds! I had to get back to Carol & my meal!

 Fantastic photos Khalifa - thanks!

Fat & very happy!
All three photos are courtesy of Khalifa. 

The very next day Khalifa calls. And what a phone call it was! He has found a wonderful male Cretzmar’s Bunting on the small roundabout near the Jebel Dhanna Hotel. Rob & I put the pedal to the metal & we arrive & obtain great views of the bird. Two UAE ticks in two days! What is going on?
There are obviously migrants about so I pop off to the Emirates Palace Hotel after work the next day. It is good birding: A Wryneck performed well; 6 Tree Pipits; 11 Common & 4 Ehrenberg’s Redstarts; 4 species of wheatears, including a fine male Black-eared.

Not a bad month to say I did little birding. 

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