Thursday, 24 October 2013

May 2013 round up

Migration is still in full swing, with many late migrants pouring through.
The 4th saw me walking around the Emirates Palace Hotel after work. It was quite interesting: 1 Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin; 4 Spotted Flycatchers; 31 Marsh; 14 Willow & 2 Barred Warblers; 1 Lesser & 2 Common Whitethroats; 2 Red backed Shrikes & 2 Ortolan Buntings.
The next day (5th) I checked out Mushrif Palace Gardens: most unseasonable was a very late White Wagtail; 1 Common Redstart; 1 Whinchat; 8 Spotted Flycatcher; 18 Marsh & 9 Willow Warblers; 2 Common Whitethroat & adding some colour were 2 European Golden Oriole, 3 Red-backed & a Turkestan Shrike.
Dawn on 10th saw me tramping around the Fujairah National Dairy Farm. 27 Lesser Kestrels stole the show with an impressive 63 Chestnut bellied Sandgrouse coming in for a morning’s drink. A good scattering of migrants included: 1 European Roller; 1 Golden Oriole; 1 Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin; 2 Common Redstart; 1 Whinchat; 1 Northern Wheatear; 16 Marsh Warbler; 4 Red-backed, 2 Lesser Grey, and singles of both Turkestan & Woodchat Shrikes. Further south along the coast we dropped in at Khor Forkkan Park and recorded 5 Spotted Flycatcher; 17 Marsh Warbler & a Red-backed Shrike. Fujairah Port Beach had a Brown Noddy fishing offshore. The Kalba boat trip produced 4 Sooty Shearwaters & only 6 Persians.
After this date my birding was curtailed by Carol’s worsening condition. She could no longer go to work, & was in intense pain & couldn't eat or drink anything. A few days in Twam Hospital seemed to briefly revive her a little, but day to day life was very grim. I managed  quick trip out around Al Warsen Lakes & Dubai Pivot Fields, best were 3 Purple & 2 Squacco Herons; 18 White-tailed Lapwing; 2 Black headed Wagtails (could they breed here)? Plus a Red-backed Shrike.
An early evening visit to Al Wathba Lake on 26th produced 950+ Greater Flamingoes, with at least 300 nests built! An African Swamp-hen was new for me at this site & 6 Eurasian Coots contained 2 chicks indicating breeding here. 17 White-tailed Lapwing was an impressive number, 2 Collared Pratincoles; 3 Pied Avocet & a Red-necked Phalarope.
As I was driving in to work on 29th an adult male Shikra flew over 19th Street, this being the first record for Abu Dhabi Island.

The last day of the month saw me offshore on a boat trip out of Kalba, it was a brilliant afternoon: 4 Flesh-footed & 4 Wedge-tailed Shearwaters being the star performers, but 4,330 Persian Shearwaters could be one of the highest ever totals in UAE waters. A Wilson’s Petrel, an Arctic Skua, Brown Noddy & 18 Red-necked Phalaropes were the best of the rest. 

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