Wednesday, 30 October 2013

September 2013 round up

It is 6th September & I am walking around the Emirates Palace Hotel. The weather is suprisingly OK for this time of year, hot yes, but not too humid. Birding is a bit slow, but 2 Common Swifts fly over, then a third bird which shows all the characteristics of pekenensis race. 3 Tree Pipits; a lutea (Yellow-headed) Wagtail; a Spotted Flycatcher, a Marsh Warbler & a Clamorous Reed Warbler & 2 Common Whitethroats. And that was about it, definitely slow going!
I then drove over to the east coast (much quicker & easier these days thanks to the new road) for an afternoon pelagic off Kalba. 10 Wilson’s Storm Petrels; one each of Arctic & Long-tailed Skuas (both distant); 2 Brown Noddies & 3 Lesser Noddies. However, the most amazing spectacle was the assembly of over 2000+ Red-necked Phalaropes in the evening. They were swarming around, at one point being chased by both Skuas!
On the early morning of 7th I was at Fujairah National Dairy Farm.It was extremely hot & humid and quite slow going. Best were: 2 Common Swift; 2 Broad-billed Sandpipers; 3 Tree Pipit; 11 Citrine & 2 Grey Wagtails; 2 Variable Wheatears; 2 Common Whitethroat & a flock of 20 Rose-coloured Starlings along the road. Dibba Harbour held an adult Brown Noddy sat on a dhow.
I drove south along the coast to Fujairah Port Beach: the place was teaming with terns, well over 4,000 birds. 2 Brown Noddies & an adult Lesser Noddy were fishing offshore.
On 13th I was back at Fujairah Port Beach looking for Mark’s 2 Roseate Terns from a few days before. It seemed that most of the UAE birding community were there! I quickly found an immature Roseate but it flew off! This happened a second time, as it was flushed. We then had it sat on the beach & an adult came down to feed it! Amazing stuff! Some photos were taken, but I had to run back to the car to get my camera & in the meantime the adult bird flew off, not to be seen again! A Sooty Tern was literally flying around our heads over the beach (Khalifa had found it a few days earlier) & an Arctic Skua was offshore.
The afternoon pelagic off Kalba was a little quiet, with 9 Wilson’s Storm Petrels; 7 Brown & a Lesser Noddy which perched on a buoy, giving really fantastic views.
It was dawn & really humid at FNDF on 14th. Walking the fields without shade was torture! The birding was OK though: 35 White Storks were feeding like crazy on the many grasshoppers in the fields; 5 Collared Pratincoles were hawking overhead; a Namqua Dove flew by; 6 European Rollers; 6 Greater Short-toed Larks; 3 Tree Pipit; 12 Yellow & 8 Citrine Wagtails; a high total of 5 Variable Wheatears; 1 Red-backed & 4 Turkestan Shrikes; a Siberian Stonechat & a Pale Rockfinch.
A quick look at Dibba Harbour revealed an adult Lesser Noddy which had replaced the previous weeks Brown Noddy! It looks like a good year for Lesser Noddies this year.
An extensive search of the terns on Fujairah Port Beach revealed an adult Roseate Tern & possibly an adult in more winter type plumage.

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