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Tripreport Birding Dubai

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Old Tuesday 11th June 2019, 10:54   #1
FlevoBirdwatching
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Tripreport Birding Dubai

Day 1 January 25, 2013
Wamm farms
On the east coast of the United Arab Emirates, the Wamm farms are close to the town of Dibba. At these farms they breed goats and cows, to feed these animals the grassland around the farms is continuously sprayed with the help of sprayers. These nozzles prove to be ideal when watching birds as they are regularly used as a lookout post. The birding started along the edges of the farms where there was a lot of scrub and some low trees. Species seen here include; Desert Lesser Whitethroat, Long-billed Pipit, Tawny Pipit, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Gray Frankolin, Common Myna, Bank Myna, White spectacled Bulbul, Ménétriés's Warbler, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Rose-colored Starling, Indian Silverbill and Hoopoe. Other species could be found on the farm itself and in the fields; Indian Roller, Southern Gray Shrike, Steppe Gray Shrike, Red-tailed Wheatear, Desert Wheatear in a somewhat drier part behind the stables, a large group (approx. 40) Chesnut-bellied Sandgrouse flew over us and circled above the grasslands and then disappearing into the tall grass, Striolated bunting twice, a nice sighting of two Lesser Kestrels that stayed nicely on the nozzles and were easily approachable, such as light nails and elongated inner tail feathers were nicely visible.
Masafi wadi
A dry, stony river bed with sparse vegetation. Many rocks and warm with the sun already high in the sky. Mark our guide was quite enthusiastic about an Agame who crossed our path, very beautiful beast completely gray-gray in color with a bright blue / turquoise head. For Mark this was the second time he saw this beast and for the first time here in this Wadi. In terms of birds it was quiet, but we saw a few typical desert species that we did not observe for the rest of the holiday. Species seen here; Sand Partridge, Desert Lark, Variable Wheatear, Eastern subspecies of the Black Redstart, Chifchaf and Purple Sunbird.

Dibba the port
In the town of Dibba we drove to the harbor, on the local fishing boats were various kinds of gulls and terns; Striking seagull was the Sooty Gull some of present and Lesser Crested Tern, Sandwich Tern, Steppe gull, Swift tern and a flying away Common Kingfisher. In addition to the birds, there were several Green Sea Turtles (Chelonia mydas) in the harbor, some just sticking their heads above the water and others floating up completely with the shield.
Kor Al Beida
On the west coast just to the north of Dubai, Kor Al Beida is a tidal area that falls dry at low tide. Naturally, waders are to be expected here, it is one of the best places to see, among other things, Crab Plover. With the sun in our backs we see many waders on the "wad" including the Crab Plover two to be exact. Other species here are Dunlin, Lesser and Greater Sandplover, Socotra Cormorant, Great White Egret, Western Reef Egret (light and dark form), Kentish Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Gray Plover, Little Stint and Turnstone. To be able to tick off a stilt walker from the target species list, we have to drive a little further to the end of the headland, this is bearing fruit. We see several Terekruiters first far away and later pretty close with the telescope, especially the foraging behavior stands out and is typical.
Desert reserve Qarn Nazwa
Actually we come here for one species of a special beast that only occurs in desert area the Desert (Pharoh) Eagle Owl (or Desert Eagle Owl). Mark knows where the bird breeds and we are going to post at a not too large rock formation with different caves close to the top. While waiting, a few more Mountain gazelles (Gazella gazella) pass by beautiful animals and can photograph beautifully in the evening sun. Far into the twilight, the owl still has nothing to say about it. After complete darkness (not completely because the moon is almost full and the sky is clear) we hear the owl calling. All telescopes and viewers are aimed at the rocks again and not long afterwards Mark has spotted the owl on the ledge of the rock. His dark silhouette contrasts slightly with the moonlit sky. After calling again he flies up and in a long gliding flight we see the owl disappeared behind a dune edge ...... beautiful this is what we came for.

Safi park
We decided to follow the advice of our guide Mark and stood at the gates of the park at eight o'clock. In addition to the general species, we have three target species in this park. To get a head start on all the athletes and joggers in the park, we walked straight to the center of the park. Mark had seen the Taiga Flycatcher a number of times in the thick vegetation. Every birdwatcher knows that this is a species that is mainly localized by his call, so this was going to be a burden. The very common Graceful Prinia and Purple Sunbird filled the air with their calls and singing made it even more difficult to catch the sound of the flycatcher. After about an hour of intensive searching, we gave up and went further into the park. The next target species would be found around the duck pond. Not long after reaching the pond we saw the little heron walking among some banana trees, an Indian Pond Heron. After excluding the very similar Ralreiger we were able to check off a new species. Other birds were around the pond and in the park; Little Grebe, Black Crowned night Heron, and a Caspian Tern flew over the pond. We have photographed some birds like Hoopoe and Red Vented Bulbul and left the park without having seen our third target species, the Shirka.

Pivot fields
These are the fields that are sprayed with waste water. There are grass fields with short and long grass and there are mud fields. At the edges along the fields are some palm trees and occasionally some trees and shrubs. Types seen here include: White-tailed Lapwing, Sociable Lapwing, Red Wattled Lapwing three subspecies or Yellow Wagtail dombrowski, thunbergi and flava, Common Snipe, Temminck´s Stint, Little Stint, Daurian Shrike, Gray Frankolin, Western Marsh Harrier, Greater Spotted Eagle, Kentish Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Green bee-eater, Indian Roller, Water Pipit, Tawny Pipit, Isabeliline Wheatear, Eurasian Hoopoe and Indian Silverbill.
Warsan lake
The lake, which lies against a residential area (International city), is surrounded by bushes and high reeds. There are three concrete lookout cabins, but not practically placed. You can walk completely around the lake and you have a good view of the water features and reed beds everywhere. Species seen here include: Citrine wagtail (sitting briefly in cane, then flown far out of view), many herons including a hot-up Purple Heron, a number of duck species including Mallard, Tufted Duck and Common Pochard, many Little Grebes, several Western Marsh Harriers, Greater Spotted Eagle, Green Beeaeter, Daurian Shrike, and in the reeds the singing of Caspian Reed Warbler (new subspecies) and Indian Reed Warbler, Graceful Prinia is almost everywhere and the same applies to the Common Myna.


Day 3 January 27, 2013
Ras Al Kor
Again early departed by taxi to the Ras Al Kor nature reserve equipped with two luxury bird watching cabins with guard, telescope and cool drinking water. However, this cabin does not open until nine in the morning, even after repeated requests to the guard, the cabin remains closed until nine. Once in the cabin we see a Southern European scene with many waders, foraging Spoonbills, Flamingos and Black-winged Stilt. However, a Greater Spotted Eagle and the many skyscrapers on the horizon make us realize that we are in Dubai. After an hour in the hut we leave for a second hut. This guard is a lot more talkative, but the number of birds is disappointing, alongside the many Flamingos we see some Common Greenshenks and Black-tailed Godwits. The absolute high point in this hut is a floating Shirka, however, the bird flies quite far away but is easy to view and we can observe all the characteristics.
Mushrif park
Around noon we leave from Ras Al Kor for the Mushrif Park desert park. The absolute target species here is the Pallid Scops Owl, but these birds, like many other owls, only take action after dusk. At first the park seems enormously scary and deserted, but there is sufficient activity near the mosque. We quietly explore the bushes, lawns and trees in the park. Our plan is to stay until after sunset. We still see an eastern subspecies of a Black Redstart, many pigeons and Purple Sunbirds. During our afternoon rest on a lawn we are startled by a rather close-flying bird of prey, it soon becomes clear that this is a Crested Honey Buzzard, a species that was high on our list, after this bird a few more followed. At the edge of the park, which is as close to the airport, we look out over a sandy, dry landscape. After a nice Southern Gray Shrike we convince ourselves that this should be the ideal area for Arabian Babbler. After fifteen minutes of searching, Taco sees a bird flying from one bush to the other and with a second glance we indeed see two Arabian Babbler among the bushes. These birds can be viewed nicely, but are too far away for beautiful photos. After a while a right flies towards us, later three more birds follow and eventually it turns out to be around five. Walking back to the central part of the park we come across a group of Gray Frankolins who are willingly photographed in the evening light. After a quick evening meal in the local civilian tent, it is time to focus on the owl. The first hour after sunset it is busy at the park, many departing cars are driving around, but after that it becomes quieter. The lantern shines excellent on all the lawns on which the owl should forage, but which field should you view. We decide to concentrate on the field just behind the mosque. This field seems to be the favorite of the owl, as we have read on the website of UAE Birding. Fifteen minutes before our departure time we see a dark spot on the grass and yes it is the Pallid Scops Owl, we can hardly believe it the bird is less than ten meters away from us! For a moment we were able to view the starling size owl nicely, but soon it disappears without a trace in a tree above us. Mission succeeded!



ay 4 January 28, 2013
Manzar park
We decided to spend our last day in Dubai in two city parks. We were the first to visit Manzar, named after the district of the same name situated on the sea. Also to enter this park you do not pay entrance fees much but around 1 euro. It takes some effort to convince the lady behind the counter that our telescopes were not real cameras, but then we were allowed inside. The park gives immediate access to a palm tree-lined beach on a small bay. It soon became apparent that this part of the beach was very popular with the Russians. In terms of birds it was of course quiet everywhere Laughing doves, Hoopoe, a single Daurian Shrike and several Purple sunbirds. On one of the lawns in the shade of some trees we saw a Song Thrush a strange sight to see such a famous bird here in this desert environment. From a pier we have just looked over the sea but it was hazy there flew several Black Headed Gulls and Steppe Gulls and also a Caspian Tern. Leaving the beach on the way to the exit of the park we discovered another Green Heron among the rocks of the pier of the thirty subspecies of the Green Heron that is here B.s.brevipes.

Creek side park
With the taxi to our last bird location of the vacation here in Dubai, Creek Side Park, as the name suggests, the park is on the Creek. This park is much busier than the Manzar park, in particular many more children. Here too we see many Laughing doves, Hoopoe, Common Sandpiper along the Creek shore, Indian Roller, Chiff Chaff, Pied Myna, Red-vented and White-eared Bulbuls. Again a foraging Song Thrush on a lawn and a Lesser Crested Tern flew by along the Creek. The Purple Sunbirds burst into a flowering tree and are beautiful to photograph. After this park we pick up our luggage from the hotel and take a taxi to the airport, our bird trip is over and the new species are inside and we both have a beautiful bird experience.
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Old Friday 9th August 2019, 08:17   #2
Earnest lad
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Thank you for sharing details of your trip. The report contains much very valuable information about sites and species. Most of this information does not seem to be available elsewhere .
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Old Friday 9th August 2019, 17:44   #3
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Indeed, is pretty useful for possible future trip.
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Old Friday 9th August 2019, 20:05   #4
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"It takes some effort to convince the lady behind the counter that our telescopes were not real cameras, but then we were allowed inside."
Great information. Thank you. I may go there in the near future. I guess you were only looking and not photographing. Is there a problem being in Dubai with a camera and telephone lens?
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Old Wednesday 14th August 2019, 01:26   #5
MKinHK
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The problem is that park. The issue is the fear that people in swimwear will be photographed. I had no oroblem entering the park and using a bridge camera - although I was careful not to use it around the beaches/sunbathers, so its probably the long lens - telescope or camera that raises the concern if the park staff. My pix and report for my visit in October a few years ago can be found here:

https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=335593

Cheers
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A nice report FlevoBirdwatching! Tempts me to go back, especially for the owls
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Old Wednesday 14th August 2019, 13:17   #6
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Note this is a six year old report. The pivot fields are now abandoned and dried up and Safa Park has been reduced in size.
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Last edited by Gashead : Wednesday 14th August 2019 at 14:34.
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Old Thursday 15th August 2019, 06:56   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gashead View Post
Note this is a six year old report. The pivot fields are now abandoned and dried up and Safa Park has been reduced in size.
Yes, Safa Park is a shadow of its former self. You're better off trying Mamzar. In addition, Mushrif NP is no longer a reliable site for Pallid Scops Owl AFAIK.
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