Sunday, 29 December 2013

A new job & Christmas 2013

I arrived back in Abu Dhabi on 14th December, having flown from Buenos Aires. It was a very long flight, during which I lost most of a day! So, I was tired, I had exactly 24 hours to get my act together and start my new job on the 16th!
 Early morning, before leaving for
 my very first day at my new job!

 Half way through my first day, I received a call from Simon - he had found a Dusky Warbler along the edge of the back wood, near the nursery in Mushrif Palace Gardens. So after work I went along to take a look and found it after a couple of minutes. When it was calling easy to see, but when it didn't call, the devil to see. I think that I have been here before with this one! Well done Simon, a terrific winter find.
I was guiding on 20th & visited Zakher Pools. The place looked wonderful in the early morning light and there was a terrific variety of species present: 2 Black-necked Grebe; 5 Squacco Heron; 9 Glossy Ibis; a lone Ruddy Shelduck; 10 Ferruginous Duck; 2 Great Spotted Eagle; 56 Eurasian Coot; 2 Spotted Redshank; a Great black-headed Gull and 250 Pallid Swifts.
A late afternoon venture down to Al Qua fodder fields was very worthwhile, with a glut of great raptor viewing! 1 Crested Honey; 1 Steppe Buzzard; 6 Marsh, and a single Pallid & Montagu's Harrier; together with a fine Booted Eagle and five Common Kestrels. However, pride of place went to 2 Amur Falcons catching insects over the fields. They put on a wonderful performance, which was enjoyed by all present. Other good species present included a single White Stork; 1 Blyth's Pipit; 3 Red throated and 75 Water Pipits.
 Two different Crested Honey Buzzards here,
 taken by Huw Roberts just before
 I arrived on the scene!

 The fabulous Amur Falcons!


All of the above fabulous photos
 were taken by Huw Roberts.
Thanks for sharing Huw!
 Rowan, me & Clare.
Rowan is wearing shades because
 she had just had lasik surgery!

That was the only birding I did before Christmas. Rowan had flown out a few days earlier to join her sister Clare. Both girls worked really hard and produced a great Christmas dinner for Ahmed & I to enjoy with them. It was our first Christmas without Carol and it rang a little hollow. A tinge of sadness was never far away. However, I was incredibly proud of both girls, they did wonderfully well.
The soon to be married, Clare & Ahmed!
Look what Santa Claus
brought Granddad!
Mind you, it could have been worse!
When are you going to wear those again boy?

I was working throughout, but on New Years Eve I went camping with a few friends in the desert. A good time was had by all & that is how we ended 2013! Roll on 2014, after this year was the very worst of my life.

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