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Birding in Dubai

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Old Tuesday 6th January 2009, 03:46   #1
Grousemore
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Birding in Dubai

I intend to visit Dubai for a few days in the next month or so.

Not a proper birding trip, but would very much welcome any advice on how to see what's about there.

I'll have a vehicle available, and am unashamedly looking for LIFERS.

Any advice on strategy would be most gratefully received.
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Old Tuesday 6th January 2009, 09:16   #2
Jos Stratford
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At the end of a trip to Oman, I have just spent a few days in the Dubai area, so first I'll recommend the website by Tommy Pedersen, it really covers everything

http://www.tommypedersen.com/UAE-sites.htm

The best site in Dubai is the the Pivot Fields, really super - had 52 White-tailed Plovers there, plus all the usuals. Also a vagrant Brown Shrike there (with Isabelline Shrikes too) and a vagrant Moustached Warbler. Near the Brown Shrike I found a Grey Hypocolius, apparently the 2nd for the locality.

Next, the nearby Wimpy Pools, rather naff at first glance, held vagrant Streak-throated Swallow, etc, but I didn't bother. Safa Park currenty has a Red-flanked Bluetail, the first ever for Arabia.

In the centre of Dubai, the Ra's al-Khor Wildlife Sanctuary was okay, but everything I swa there I had seen in far better numbers elsewhere in Oman and near the Dreamland flats (see below), so only visited once. It is very good however for Great Spotted Eagle if you haven't seen this bird - I saw about five here. Mangrove hide is the best, the other one had almost nothing.

For U.A.E. specialities, trips beyond Dubai could incude Ghantoot, about 60 km towards Abu Dhabi - Cream-coloured Coursers are guaranteed (I saw 47 on the polo club grasses) and Grey Hypocolius is usual there - up to 12 this year (but I didn't see here). In the other direction, the big tidal flats at 'Dreamland', mentioned on the above website were interesting - had 520 Crab Plovers there, plus three Great Knot on one visit, lots f Terek Sandpipers and Greater and Lesser Sand Plovers, etc.

Be ready for a shock - Dubai and even more so Ras at Khamah (if you have the misfortune to go there) are amongst the most unattractive places I have ever been to! But the birds are good, so shouldn't complain.

If you need any further detail, feel free to ask.
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Old Tuesday 6th January 2009, 16:52   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jos Stratford View Post
At the end of a trip to Oman, I have just spent a few days in the Dubai area, so first I'll recommend the website by Tommy Pedersen, it really covers everything

http://www.tommypedersen.com/UAE-sites.htm

The best site in Dubai is the the Pivot Fields, really super - had 52 White-tailed Plovers there, plus all the usuals. Also a vagrant Brown Shrike there (with Isabelline Shrikes too) and a vagrant Moustached Warbler. Near the Brown Shrike I found a Grey Hypocolius, apparently the 2nd for the locality.

Next, the nearby Wimpy Pools, rather naff at first glance, held vagrant Streak-throated Swallow, etc, but I didn't bother. Safa Park currenty has a Red-flanked Bluetail, the first ever for Arabia.

In the centre of Dubai, the Ra's al-Khor Wildlife Sanctuary was okay, but everything I swa there I had seen in far better numbers elsewhere in Oman and near the Dreamland flats (see below), so only visited once. It is very good however for Great Spotted Eagle if you haven't seen this bird - I saw about five here. Mangrove hide is the best, the other one had almost nothing.

For U.A.E. specialities, trips beyond Dubai could incude Ghantoot, about 60 km towards Abu Dhabi - Cream-coloured Coursers are guaranteed (I saw 47 on the polo club grasses) and Grey Hypocolius is usual there - up to 12 this year (but I didn't see here). In the other direction, the big tidal flats at 'Dreamland', mentioned on the above website were interesting - had 520 Crab Plovers there, plus three Great Knot on one visit, lots f Terek Sandpipers and Greater and Lesser Sand Plovers, etc.

Be ready for a shock - Dubai and even more so Ras at Khamah (if you have the misfortune to go there) are amongst the most unattractive places I have ever been to! But the birds are good, so shouldn't complain.

If you need any further detail, feel free to ask.
Some good information there, just what I was after.

Thanks very much for taking the trouble.
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Old Friday 9th January 2009, 19:10   #4
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A further thought; how useful would a spotting-scope be in this area?
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Old Friday 9th January 2009, 19:34   #5
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Not really necessary, the hides at Ra's al-Khor Wildlife Sanctuary are equipped with Leica scopes for birder use (!) and at the Pivot Fields, so long as you stay to the established tracks around the field edges, you can take your car in and slowly drive round - the birds are close. A scope could be useful for pipits if you want to check the further off ones, but to be honest I think I did not use my scope there.

The only place that would be good would be the dreamland flats, though even there you'll be able to see most stuff without a scope without problem ...but if you want to scope the Bar-tailed Godwit flocks, some of which may be distant, you could need a scope to find the Great Knot (which do not stick out like a sore thumb!). Not bad a scope at Ghantoot too - as you view from the gates usually and some stuff is more distant (there is a Sociable Plover there too).

So in brief, for Dubai itself, no need, but for sites further afield (Dreamland and Ghantoot) not bad to have.
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Old Saturday 10th January 2009, 03:16   #6
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Thanks again and much appreciated....more especially as you seem to be the only birder on BF who has visited Dubai
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Old Saturday 10th January 2009, 14:59   #7
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Forgot to ask about the best field guide to use. Is there one available for the region,or would Collins suffice?
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Old Saturday 10th January 2009, 15:10   #8
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Forgot to ask about the best field guide to use. Is there one available for the region,or would Collins suffice?
Collins certainly is good enough, and in some respects the best, but there is also a fairly new Birds of the Middle East by Porter, Christensen, etc, which obviously deals in more detail with the birds of the area.

In the Dreamland area, and certainly further north from there, you might/should see Socotra Cormorant, which isn't in Collins, apart from that, I think Collins covers all that you are likely to see in the Dubai area (I'll check later when I have the books with me).


Socotra Cormorant for you Check online id somewhere, but basically Shag-like bill on Cormorant-like bird. No white skin around bill as in Cormorant (which also occur around Dubai)
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Old Sunday 11th January 2009, 02:12   #9
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Thanks again

Just dug the trusty old Collins out of the closet and the plates are so faded I'd be hard-pushed to ID anything!

Years of schlepping around GB and Europe have taken their toll on the trusty tome.

In any event, aren't they publishing a revision soon?
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Old Saturday 17th January 2009, 21:54   #10
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I notice my Thread has been moved; would it not be better in the UAE sub-forum?

Anyway, as long as Jos can find it...
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Old Saturday 17th January 2009, 22:06   #11
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Thanks again and much appreciated....more especially as you seem to be the only birder on BF who has visited Dubai
I have been to Dubai dozens of times, its the birder bit that disqualifies me from helping you
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Old Saturday 17th January 2009, 22:24   #12
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I have been to Dubai dozens of times, its the birder bit that disqualifies me from helping you
OK, Steve, you're forgiven then. What about any advice on the best watering-holes?

Happy New Year to you.
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Old Tuesday 20th January 2009, 18:45   #13
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Hi all

I'm visiting UAE for five days in early April and was hoping for some advice on the following target species - I will hire a car and am prepared to do plenty of driving. I won't really be focussing on migrants.

cheers,
alan

Socotra Cormorant – good perched views required

White-cheeked tern – ditto, adults

Sooty Gull – ditto, adults

Caspian Plover – rare migrant

Barbary Falcon

Sand partridge

Bruce’s Scops Owl

Pharoh Eagle Owl

Bar-tailed Desert Lark

Hooded Wheatear

Hume’s Wheatear

Pale Rock Sparrow migrant but a good time of year

Cinereous Bunting – rare migrant, ditto

White-throated Robin - ditto

Semi-collared Fly – ditto

Mangrove Sykes Warbler + Collared Kingfisher form

Plain leaf Warbler – too late?

Grey Hypocolius – there are some there at the moment but they will probably have gone?
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Old Tuesday 20th January 2009, 20:49   #14
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Can't help you on most, as my experience really is just a few days in December, but the website quoted at the beginning should be helpful.

However, to address a few:

Socotra Cormorant - I think not too hard, certainly were numerous in the Musandam (Oman) enclave, which is only 100 km or so north of Dubai and easly visited from U.A.E. As you enter the small town of Khasab, hundreds were in the bay, some on the rocks.

I think the beaches on the U.A.E. side also get good numbers.


Sooty Gull
- much as Socotra Cormorant I think.


Mangrove Sykes Warbler + Collared Kingfisher - must go to Khawr Kalba on the east coast, it is the only locality. I found both fairly easily. Also, Indian Pond Heron might linger till April.


Hume’s Wheatear - common in Musandam, presume same across the border in Oman.


Plain Leaf Warbler - found good numbers in Musandam, but reportedly stay only till late March.
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Old Wednesday 21st January 2009, 22:07   #15
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Jos

Cheers - a lot of people seem to get grim veiws of the cormorant and I am hoping for good views!

alan
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Old Wednesday 21st January 2009, 22:59   #16
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Jos

Cheers - a lot of people seem to get grim veiws of the cormorant and I am hoping for good views!
Maybe I just got lucky. The one in a post above was photographed in south Oman, but this one was just before Khasab town, as described in my earlier reply. As said this bay was full of Socotra Cormorants, some way out in the bay, but many fairly near the shore. Relatively few actually on shore though (did read one report of many sitting on a beach on the U.A.E. side, but Oman is far far more attractive place to bird in, so didn't even try to find any beaches around there)
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Old Monday 16th February 2009, 21:58   #17
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Bump

Anyone got any more UAE updates from the last 12 months? Updates on the two owls particularly welcome.

Cheers,
alan
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Old Wednesday 10th November 2010, 08:12   #18
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Ras Al Khor

Can anyone confirm what the position is re access to the above. If I go on the municipal website that suggests that you need to apply for a permit. However the application form isnt downloadable (if thats a word), the site states dont apply more than 3 days in advance but permits will take at least 2 days to process! Many of the trip reports I have read suggest that birders have just turned up. Its just myelf and my partner - not a big tour

Cheers
Phil
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Old Wednesday 10th November 2010, 20:15   #19
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Can anyone confirm what the position is re access to the above. If I go on the municipal website that suggests that you need to apply for a permit. However the application form isnt downloadable (if thats a word), the site states dont apply more than 3 days in advance but permits will take at least 2 days to process! Many of the trip reports I have read suggest that birders have just turned up. Its just myelf and my partner - not a big tour
I have not been there since the winter before last, so there is a chance something has changed, but no permit was required in advance - I travelled independently and just turned up and used the hides when they opened, as did many other people during the day (birders and the general public with an interest in the site). If I remember, I did have to sign a guest book inside the hide, that was all.
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Old Saturday 13th November 2010, 08:17   #20
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Cheers for the info Jos
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