uaetrip9

Trip report UAE 2-14/April/2000

We usually birdwatched mornings and evenings and spent the hottest hours (11.00 - 15.00) poolside and/or sleeping.

Weather was fine all the time with temperatures between 32 and 38 degrees C; the last two days were very humid and hot.

All sites mentioned below are dealt with in: "The Shell Birdwatching Guide to The United Arab Emirates" by Colin Richardson and Simon Aspinall.

Only more interesting (I hope) species/observations are mentioned. Most of the numbers mentioned are approximate.

2/4: Dubai - Sandy Beach Motel area (on the East Coast between Dibba - Fujairha):

Dubai/Sharjah city (early morning):
Whiskered Tern 15 (flying/feeding over irrigated lawn)

Wadi Masafi (about 10:00 - 11:00):
Not really birdwatching here this day - only resting after a rather long journey
Arabian Babbler 1 singing

Between Masafi and Dibba:
Hume's Wheatear 2 (1 pair on the electrical wires)

Dibba - Sandy Beach Motel (lunch time):
Socotra Cormorant 1 imm.
Sooty Gull 30
Swift Tern 15
Lesser Crested Tern 10
White-cheeked Tern 5
Sandwich Tern 20
Pallid Swift (hundreds of them)
Bonelli's Eagle 1 soaring over mountains to the W of Sandy B Hotel (most probably, my binoculars were unfortunately in the car!)
Isabelline Wheatear 10
Pied Wheatear 1 male
Rock Thrush 1 male

Fujairah National Dairy Farm, Dibba (evening):
Cattle Egret 4
Little Egret 6
Lesser Kestrel 1 male
Kestrel 3
Lesser Kestrel/Kestrel about 15
Red-wattled Lapwing 50-75
Indian Roller at least 50
Yellow Wagtail (feldegg) 2
Tree Pipit 2
Black-eared Wheatear 1 female
Desert Wheatear 1 female
Rock Thrush 1 male

3/4: Sandy Beach Motel area + Fujairha National Dairy Farm

Sandy B Motel area (morning + day):
Arctic Skua 5
Pommarine Skua 10
Arctic/Pomarine Skua 15
White-cheeked Tern about 40
Bridled Tern 2
Pale Crag Martin 1 (drinking from swimming pool)

Fujairha National Dairy Farm (evening):
Night Heron 1 ad.
Indian Pond Heron 1 (judging from the drab, earth-brown back-colour and rather broad dark streaking on the breast)
Pallid Harrier 1 ad female + 1 (2K) male
Lesser Kestrel 2 males + 1 female (at least, close views are needed to separate the females, claw colour and distance wing-/tail-tip are useful characters if given close views)
Common Snipe 1
Indian Roller more than 100!
Short-toed Lark 20
Pale Crag Martin 1
Red-throated Pipit 5
White Wagtail only 5
Citrine Wagtail 1 male
Isabelline Wheatear 15
Desert Wheatear 1 female
Isabelline Shrike 1
Great Grey Shrike 20 (aucheri)
Black-headed Bunting 7 (6 of them in one flock)

4/4: East Coast; Sandy B Motel - Khor Kalba - Sandy B Motel (morning)

High tide :-(
Little Green Heron 1 (Khor Kalba)
Indian Pond Heron 1 (KK)
Grey Heron 1 (KK)
Great White Egret 2 (Khor Fakkan)
Greater Sand Plover 2 (Khor Fakkan)
Arctic/Pommarine Skua at least 15 (Sharm)
Gulls, about 3 500 (Khor Fakkan) + 700 (Sharm)
(Black-headed, Slender-billed, Sooty, Siberian/Pontic)
Terns, about 50 (Khor Fakkan) + 250 (Sharm)
(White-cheeked, Common, Sandwich, Little/Saunder's Little, Swift, Lesser Crested)
The White-cheeked Terns nearly always looked more "messy" than the Common Terns. (Request for comments)
Kingfisher 1 (KK)
White-collared Kingfisher 1+ 2 (KK)
Desert Wheatear 2 (KK)
Clamorous Reed Warbler 1 male singing (KK)
Syke's Warbler 3 males singing (+ very good views!) (KK)
When I heard Booted Warbler (caligata) singing in Sweden a few years ago I thought it sang like a harsh Garden Warbler, the Syke's sang more like harsh and fast Reed Warbler - at least to my ears. The literature (e.g. Mullarney, Svensson, Zetterström) says that these species song are not so different?? (Request for comments)

Fujairha National Dairy Farm (evening):

Same as yesterday but also:
Grey Wagtail 1
Rufous Bush Chat 1 (without tail!!! Looked rather funny when it tried to "flick"!)
Rock Thrush 1 male
Isabelline Shrike 3
Black-headed Bunting 1 male

5/4 Wadi Masafi + Sharm beach

Wadi Masafi (early morning):
Very quiet and dry, no warblers at all
Long-billed Pipit 2
Scrub Warbler 2-3
Hume's Wheatear 2 (same place as 2/4)

Sharm beach (evening):
Pommarine Skua 5
Arctic Skua 4
Pommarine-/Arctic Skua 5
Sooty Gull 200
Little-/Saunder's Little Tern about 150 in one fishing flock far offshore
Bridled Tern 10-15 far offshore
White-cheeked Tern about 300
Sandwich Tern 50
Lesser Crested Tern 4

6/4 Fujairha National Dairy Farm + Sharm - Sandy Beach Motel area

FNDF (morning):
Same as the days before but:
Short-toed Lark 25
Black-crowned Finch Lark 1 male + 3 female
Yellow Wagtail 1 (feldegg)
Grey Wagtail 1
Rufous Bush Chat 1 (with tail this time!)
Black-eared Wheatear 1 female
Rock Thrush 1 male
Song Thrush 1
Woodchat Shrike 1
Steppe Grey Shrike 1
Pale Rock Sparrow 10
Black-headed Bunting 1 male

Sharm-Sandy B area:
Gulls and terns and skuas and a Pale Crag Martin

7/4 Fujairha National Dairy Farm - Sandy B Motel - travel to Al Ain + Al Ain Camel Race Track

FNDF (morning):
Same as the days before but:
Night Heron 1 imm.
Richard's Pipit 1 (worked real hard on this one until it showed us its hind-claw...)
Red-throated Pipit 20
Black-eared Wheatear 1 female
Woodchat Shrike 1 female
Pale Rock Sparrow 1

Sandy B Motel (about lunch time):
Pied Wheatear 1 male
Desert Warbler 1

Al Ain Camel Race Track (16.00 - 18:00)
Montague's Harrier 1 ad male + 1 ad female
Kestrel 10
Short-toed Lark at least 300, probably much more!
Lesser Short-toed Lark 2
Black-crowned Finch Lark 3
Desert Wheatear 1 female
Woodchat Shrike 1 male
Corn Bunting at least 10 singing males

8/4 Al Ain Camel Race Track + Ain Al Fayda

Al Ain Camel Race Track (07:15 - 09:30)
Changes from yesterday:
Montague's Harrier 1 female
Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse about 100 arriving to the dry areas at 08:00
Namaqua Dove 1 female!
Corn Bunting heard singing everywhere!

Ain Al Fayda reed beds(16:30 - 17:45):
Completely dry! Almost no birds at all!!
Rufous Bushchat 1 (in pick-nick-area)
Isabelline Shrike 1

Al Ain Compost Plant (18:00 - 18:15):
Completely dry! No birds at all.

Al Ain Pumping Station (18:35 - 18:55):
Black-winged Stilt about 20
Little Grebe about 10
Squacco Heron 1
Egyptian Goose 1 pair with 4 pullus
Pintail 1 male
Gargeney 1 male + 2 female
Shovler 1 male + 2 female
Moorhen about 10
Coot 1
Little Stint 2
Temminck's Stint 1
Isabelline Shrike 1
Northern Wheatear 1 male

9/4 Oman sites + Al Ain Camel Race Track

Fossil Valley (morning):
Dry, dry and almost no interesting birds.
Great Grey Shrike, House Sparrow, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Desert Lark 2, Desert Wheatear 1 male

Hanging Gardens (morning):
Dry, dry and almost no interesting birds. No water in "the permanent spring".
Purple Sunbird, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Palm Dove, House Sparrow, Great Grey Shrike

Madha-area:
Brown-necked Raven 1

Al Ain Camel Race Track (evening):
Pallid Harrier 1 ad female + 1 (2K) female + 1 (2K) male
Desert Wheatear 1 male
Red-wattled Lapwing with chicks!
Fewer Larks today.

10/4 Jebel Hafeet - travel to Ras Al Khaimah - Khat/Digdaga-area

Jebel Hafeet (06:30 - 08:30)
Very good to be "first to the top" early in the morning

Hooded Wheatear 2 males + 1 female
Hume's Wheatear about 30
Blue Rock Thrush 1 male
House Bunting 1 male
Sand Partridge at least 20 (at the parking on the top)
Desert Lark about 30
Egyptian Vulture 1-2
Pale Crag Martin about 100

Khat + Digdaga area (late evening):
Bank Mynah about 150

11/4 NW-coast + Khat/Digdaga area

Al Jazeerah Khor + Dreamland beach + Khor Al Beidha (morning)
Western reef Heron 50 + 30 + 100
Flamingo 5 + 5 + 30
Grey Heron 3 + 2 + 5
Crab Plover 0 + 7 + 1
Sanderling 5 (AJK)
Black-winged Stilt 1 (DB)
Ringed Plover 1 (DB)
Red-wattled Lapving 2 (DB)
March Harrier 3 (KAB)
Osprey 1 (KAB)
Kentish Plover, Greater- and Lesser Sandplover, Grey Plover, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Curlew, Whimbrel, Bar-tailed Goodwit, Redshank, Greenshank, Green sandpiper, Terek sandpiper (at least 150), Common sandpiper, Turnstone
Great Knot 1 in almost summer plumage (AJK)
Gull-billed Tern at least 40 (all sites)
Saunder's Little Tern at least 50 (AJK)
Hoopoe Lark 1 (close to the Palace wall KAB)
Desert Wheatear 1

Bin Majid Beach Hotel (daytime):
Tree pipit 1
Pale Crag Martin 3 (drinking from swimming pool)

Khat/Digdaga area (16:00 - 18:00)
Cattle Egret 4
Lesser Kestrel at least 20
European Bee-eater 13
Black-crowned Finch Lark 50-75 in one flock!
Arabian Babbler 2 (Khat lake - but no water in it!)
Pale Rock Sparrow 30 in one flock
Black-headed Bunting 3
Corn Bunting 40 (25 in one flock!)

12/4 Emirates golf course + Jebel Ali Hotel grounds + Ghantoot - travel to Abu Dhabi

EGC (07:00 - 10:30):
White-tailed Plover 2 (Wetland Sanctuary)
Black-winged Stilt 17 (WS)
Flamingo 2 (WS)
Grey Plover 2 (WS)
Shovler 4 male (WS) + 1 female (Wadi course pool)
Ruff 1 (WS)
Red-wattled Lapwing 10 (WS) + 20 (elsewhere)
Moorhen 1 ad + 2 pullus (WS)
Ringed Plover 45 (WS)
Temminck's Stint 3 (WS)
Kentish Plover 2 (WS)
Little Stint 5 (WS)
Common Snipe 5 (WS)
Black-headed Gull 5 (WS)
Slender-billed Gull 4 (WS)
Grey Heron 2 (WS)
Cormorant 1 (WS)
Teal 2 (WS)
Whinchat 1 male (Wadi course)
Curlew 2 (Wadi course)
Wigeon 1 female (Wadi course pool)
Tree Pipit 2
Hoopoe 1
Little Egret 2

Jebel Ali Hotel grounds (+ golf course) (11:00 - 13:00)
Redstart 1 female
Black Redstart 1 female
Hoopoes about 5

Ghantoot (15:45 - 17:30)
No Hypocolius!
Rufous Bushchat 1

13/4 Khalidiyah + Mushref Palace Gardens + Abu Dhabi Golf and Equestrian Club

Khalidiyah´(06:30 - 09:30)
Olivaceous Warbler 2-3 singing males
Redstart 9
Ortolan Bunting 1
Tree Pipit 2

Mushref Palace Gardens (10:30 - 12:30)
Red-Whiskered Bulbul 3-4
Crested Honey Buzzard 1 male
Forest Wagtail 1
Olivaceous Warbler (heard singing)
Alexandrine Paraket 2-3
Rufous Bushchat 2
Cuckoo 1 (grey phase)
We dipped on the long-staying Wood Pigeon!

Abu Dhabi Golf and Equestrian Club (16:00 - 17:50)
Cattle Egret about 8
Egyptian Goose 1 ad + 2 chicks
(European) Golden Plover 1!
Richard's/Blyth's Pipit 1
Blyth's Pipit 1 (very good views!!!)
Ortolan Bunting 3-4

14/4 Al Wathba camel racetrack + Ghantoot + Mushrif National Park

Al Wathba camel racetrack (06:45 - 13:00)
Quail 7
Pacific Golden Plover 3 + 7 + 19
Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse about 75
Namaqua Dove 1
European Roller 10
Black-crowned Finch Lark about 30
Hoopoe Lark 4
Short-toed Lark about 10
Lesser Short-toed Lark 2
Sand Martin about 30
Pale Martin (diluta) 2
Swallow about 20 + 1 "red", ssp. tytleri?
House Martin 1
Richard's Pipit 2
Blyth's Pipit 1 (also very good views!)
Richard's/Blyth's Pipit 2
Pied Wheatear 1 male + 1 female
Rock Thrush 1 female
Grashopper Warbler 1
Blyth's Reed Warbler 2 (very good views!)
Pale Rock Sparrow 1 heard
Ortolan Bunting 7

Ghantoot (17:00 - 18:30)
No Hypocolius this time either!
Rufous Bushchat 3

Mushrif National Park (20:45 - 21:45)
Striated (Bruce's) Scops Owl 1

All together 165 species.

Other stuff:

1 AED = $3.65 = 2.38 SEK

Travel:

Regular British Airways flight from Stockholm (Arlanda) via London (Heathrow) to Dubai, 10 000 SEK (2 adults + 1 child)

Accommodation (chatelet or double room):

Sandy Beach Motel (Al Aqqa, between Dibba - Fujairha) 335 AED/night (incl. discount for "long-time- staying"): Good value

Al Ain Intercontinental Hotel (Al Ain) 350 AED/night: Very good value (but no T-shirt and shorts at dinner...)

Bin Majid Beach Hotel (Ras Al Khaimah) 350 AED/night: Not so good value (but not bad either)

Al Ain Palace Hotel (Abu Dhabi) 325 AED/night: Very good value

All hotels mentioned above had swimming pools (and special one's for the kids).

Car rental:

From Dubai airport, BUDGET 1687 AED (2-14/4 = 12 days)

Visas: rather expensive, about 1 200 SEK for the three of us.

Many thanks to:

Simon Aspinall, Steve James, Andrew & Rob who guided us in Abu Dhabi area and who also made it possible for us to twitch Forest Wagtail and Crested Honey Buzzard in the same two minutes of time and much, much more!!! (We'll pay the camel beer next time!)

Colin Richardson, David Lane and Hanno Stamm for much useful information before the trip.

(David! Sorry I didn't contact you when we were in Al Ain - I had forget to bring your adress/phone number)

Please feel free to contact us if you have further questions etc.

Joakim, Elisabeth and Adrian Djerf

Forsmark

Sweden