Wednesday, 9 October 2013

September Round Up

The 1st of the month started well, with a quick drop in at Khor al Beidae producing a stunning 100 Crab Plovers. 

A flock of mainly European Oystercatchers
 Crab Plover - one of the special birds
 of the Middle East

I then carried on across the Hajar Mountains to Fujairah National Dairy Farm which had a scattering of migrants, the best being a Pin-tailed Snipe; 2 newly arrived Variable Wheatears; 2 Lesser Grey Shrikes and five Pale Rockfinch. The pelagic off Kalba in the afternoon was quiet, with just 7 Brown Noddies and 83 Red-necked Phalaropes being noteworthy.
The 14th saw me again back at FNDF where a flock of 31 Purple Herons were flying about aimlessly, no doubt looking for non-existant water. 4 Montagu’s and a Pallid Harrier were quartering the fields. 2 Long-billed Pipits were on the gravel plain and the best of the rest were 10 Rose-coloured Starlings and 7 Pale Rockfinch.

 Part of the flock of Purple Herons, 
very distant & heavily cropped.

Montagu's Harrier

A work trip to Dabbiyah on 19th was very productive with a Eurasian Scops Owl being new for the year list. Other notables included an early Eurasian Sparrowhawk; a Stone Curlew; a rare (here) Masked Wagtail; 2 Great Reed Warblers; 7 Golden Orioles and a fine Ortolan Bunting. Not bad for a work day!
The 21st saw me back at FNDF and finding an early Rufous Turtle Dove, which was a welcome addition to my year list! 2 Richard’s and a Tawny Pipit were fresh arrivals, while the Rose-coloured Starlings had risen to 16 birds and 2 Ortolan Buntings were nearby.
I was working back at Dabbiyah on 23rd, quite a few migrants were around including a Steppe Buzzard, a Wood Warbler; 2 Golden Orioles and a Masked Shrike. I was feeling pretty pleased with myself with the addition of two year birds and so I decided to walk around the fire station area which has produced good birds in the past. As I walked through some longer grass I flushed up a locustella which flew like a bullet straight into the fire station window! I ran & picked it up, it had a spot of blood on the bill, but was stunned and not dead! Then it was my turn to be stunned as I realised I was holding a River Warbler and not one of its commoner cousins! What a bonus for the year list! Whow! I held it for a couple of minutes and as it grew in strength I let it go and it flew back to the exact same patch of long grass which I had originally flushed it from! But not before it perched briefly on a twig just above the ground enabling me to get a good, albeit brief view, through my binoculars. The find of the year?
Back in AD, Simon was busy finding his own rare bird, a superb Little Crake at AD Racecourse. After sitting in the hot, sweaty reed bed for quite sometime it decided to show itself, but it was so close I couldn't focus my binoculars on it! Eventually I got great views through the bins, but by this time the light was fading. 
Back at FNDF on 28th saw me looking at a European Golden Plover with 2 Pacific Goldens.
In Abu Dhabi the next day a phone call from Oscar saw me twitching his Thrush Nightingale at the AD Golf & Equestrian Club. It was surprisingly easy to see, as once you flushed it from the hedge, it landed on the pavement allowing great views.

Flushed with my success!  I decide to work the Emirates Palace Hotel the next day and it was full of migrants, best being: Crested Honey Buzzard; 2 European Nightjars; Wryneck; Bluethroat; 3 Red backed Shrikes and a welcome addition to my year list, a rather drab Common Rosefinch! I am on a roll! Some great year birds here!

Common Rosefinch

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