Friday, 13 June 2014

Offshore Abu Dhabi Islands.

Friday 13th & I am going on a boat trip! OK, it is just around the inshore islands off Abu Dhabi Island, but it is still a boat trip! Captain Maarten had agreed to take a few of us out to see the breeding terns & anything else that we might come across. We tend to do this trip at least once a year & it is usually at this time of year because this is when the terns breed.
 
 The Intercontinental Hotel Marina.
Our intrepid travellers/ naturalists for the day!
 
We all met up on time & by 8am we were off across the water to our first port of call, a small island on the way to Futaisi Island. This island has been modified by recent development & so we were all relieved to see the colony of White-cheeked Terns wheeling high above our heads. Our fear was they might not be here this year.
 
 
 We were mobbed by screaming adults
 as soon as we left the boat.
 White-cheeked Tern
 We were careful not to stay too long at the colony.
 White-cheeked Tern egg. There is no nest as such.
Adults just making a scrape & sometimes lining it
 with a few stones.
A young chick panting in the high temperatures.
 Bridled Tern.
 One of the most beautiful & graceful
 of all the tern species.
 They like nesting in shady areas, often under rocks.
 
 The Bridled tern chick was finding shade
 from a piece of waste cardboard!
 Maarten
Huw, getting in on some action!
 
 The endemic Socotra Cormorant.
 
 Bar-tailed Godwit.
Greater Sand Plover.
 Crab Plover.
 
Reasonable numbers of waders were noted, including 200+ Bar-tailed Godwit; 2 Curlew Sandpiper; 12 Crab Plover.
 
Around 400+ Greater Flamingo were seen.
 Dark phase Western Reef Heron.
Light phase Western Reef Heron. 
 Osprey - here at one of the highest densities
 in the world.
Very few land birds are found on these desolate islands.
But one that can survive & breed here
is the Greater Hoopoe Lark.
This is a recently fledged juvenile.
Bryde's Whale skeleton.

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