Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Back in the UAE!

I arrived back in Abu Dhabi on the 3rd May. It had been a long flight via Singapore. I am (as usual) staying with Clare & Ahmed at Al Reef Villas.

 Look at the name on the champers bottle!
Photo courtesy of Anne Sweeney
Kevin, Robin & yours truly!
Photo courtesy of Anne Sweeney
Photo courtesy of Anne Sweeney.

Photo courtesy of Anne Sweeney.
Looking across the marina at night.
Photo courtesy of Anne Sweeney.

 Quickly met up with a few friends & enjoyed a nice evening on a yacht that Kevin & Leanne were looking after while the owners were away.

The track alongside the Goat Farm.
The scattered bushes along this track are
 very attractive for migrants.
Oscar, Mark & Simon looking for migrants.

On 13th May met up with Simon, Oscar & Mark for a trip across to the east coast. It was a little warm of course, with temperatures well over 40 degrees Celsius! We hit the fields at Whamm Farm early but there were surprisingly few migrants around.

The green oasis of Whamm Farm.

This farm grows fodder to feed dairy cows.
This gentlemen has been working here for many years!

A distant shot of a Montague's Harrier.

Best records were:
Montague's Harrier; 9 Lesser Kestrels; 6 European Rollers; 3 Red backed Shrike; 1 Woodchat Shrike & 18 Marsh Warbler.

Masafi Wadi
The boys enjoying a bit of sunshine!
This is one of the few areas in the Hajar Mountains
which has easy access.
Typical habitat found in this area.
Photographing a Desert White Butterfly.

We then visited Masafi Wadi in late morning & despite the heat, saw the usual suite of Hajar Mountain birds, but nothing special.

Mid-day in May in the UAE, there is only one thing to do & that is do a bit of sea-watching! So we drove ot Fujairah Port Beach & managed to find a Sooty Shearwater loafing offshore. A few terns were on the beach, including White-cheeked Terns.

Sykes's Warbler
With current restrictions on access to the Kalba 
   mangroves, this species is becoming increasingly
 difficult to see in the UAE.

A top bird in the UAE!

All photographs courtesy of Simon Lloyd.
A big thank you to Simon, for letting me use these shots.

Simon then informed us of where he had seen Sykes's Warbler before, without entering the mangroves which are now out of bounds at Kalba. We arrived at the site and two birds duly obliged & Simon obtained some pretty good photos given the circumstances.

It was a very enjoyable day out with the guys & thanks for inviting me.

Me & Anita (Woolly)
One of my late wife's closest friends.

I went to the ENHG meeting on 17th May & then met up with Anita, Willheim & Maarten for a drink on the terrace. Anita was over from the UK for a few days & Maarten is preparing to leave the UAE, after all this time. The end of an era!

Ready to go!
Photo courtesy of Jacky Judas.
Oscar; Jacky; Andrew & Dick - ready to sail!
Gilli was there as well
Ospreys are still common here.

On 21st May Maarten gave us a last boat trip before he leaves the UAE for good in June. We went around the inshore islands just off Abu Dhabi & down the Musssafah Channel. It was of course incredibly hot, but the offshore breeze was very welcome!

White-cheeked Tern

White-cheeked Tern nest.
Maarten found an injured tern.
It had a broken wing.

Bridled Tern

Bridled Terns always nest in cavities,
 not out in the open.
Saunders Little Tern with fledged young.

We enjoyed great views of various breeding Terns, but numbers were very much down on previous years.

Greater Flamingo

Along the Mussafah Channel over 180+ Greater Flamingos & 200+ Western Reef Herons were seen, along with a few late migrant waders. 2 very distant Crab Plovers were also noted.

This is the area where the Egyptian Nightjars roost.
Egyptian Nightjar.

Photo courtesy of Dick Hornby.

On 24th May I went to an disclosed location with Oscar, Dick & Maarten. The main purpose of this trip was to look for breeding Egyptian Nightjars. It is quite a nice area of tamarisk desert & we saw at least 10 Egyptian Nightjars & heard at least four males singing at dusk. 

This is the area where the nest was found 
in March this year.
Dick, myself & Oscar.
Photo courtesy of Maarten.
Oscar & Dick checking out plants.
Arabian Hare.
Photo courtesy of Maarten.

We then moved on to another site which was a little more open. We heard four males singing at dusk, which indicates breeding in the area. We also saw at least 4 Arabian Hares here. A Namaqua Dove & Hoopoe Lark were also noted. We all enjoyed a great afternoon out & the weather although hot was dry, which was great.

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