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United Arab Emirates



9 - 16 November 2008

Observers: F. Simpson & Ayrshire Birders Abroad




This trip was organised by Tony and Gerda Scott of Ayrshire Birders Abroad with Angus Hogg as bird leader. With the help of Arabian Adventures, twenty two of us criss-crossed the deserts from coast to coast in search of Arabian specialities, wintering Arctic waders, seabirds in the Gulf, migrant warblers in oases, and, not forgetting, the many introduced species... well ok, not everyone was so enamoured by mynahs, bulbuls and parakeets!


The United Arab Emirates is a federation consisting of seven emirates, the largest emirate is Abu Dhabi with the capital city Abu Dhabi. It is a safe, modern country with a booming economy and travel is fairly quick and easy. Some locations are obviously sensitive and access is restricted and permission is often needed to enter some sites. Development around the main cities is progressing at an unprecedented scale and much 'greening' of the desert is occurring through irrigation by sprinklers. Such areas are obvious migrant traps in an otherwise inhospitable terrain. The UAEs location in Arabia means that the avifauna is a mix of Palearctic and Indo-Malayan species with Indian Roller, Little Green Bee-eatear, Purple Sunbird, and Red-wattled Lapwings being common everyday species on the trip.


High on my target list were Crab Plover in the coastal creeks and tidal lagoons (khors) around Ras al Khaimah, the endemic sub-species of White-collared Kingfisher in coastal mangroves at Khor Kalba, wintering Greater Spotted Eagles, Black-crowned Finch Lark and Hume's Wheatear in the deserts, Western Reef Egret and Indian Pond Heron in the coastal wetlands, and perhaps with some amount of luck, the Lappet-faced Vulture in the Hajar Mountains.


The birding was probably less intensive than my usual sort of trip due to the dynamics of birding in large group and the fact we spent much time indulging in food throughout the day! Despite the short time at most sites and the fact that the main autumn migration period was largely over, we amassed a list of over 140 species, with around 30 being lifers for me! Many thanks to Tony and Gerda for organising such a great trip to a fairly novel birding destination and to Angus and the rest of the group for helping to find the goodies!





Socotra Cormorant · Western Reef Egret · Indian Pond Heron · Greater Spotted Eagle · Crab Plover · Red-wattled Lapwing · White-tailed Lapwing · Lesser Sand Plover · Greater Sand Plover · Sooty Gull · Saunders' Tern · White-cheeked Tern · Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse · White-collared Kingfisher · Pharaoh Eagle Owl · Little Green Bee-eater · Indian Roller · Black-crowned Finch-Lark · Pale Crag Martin · Olive-backed Pipit · Hooded Wheatear · Hume's Wheatear · Variable Wheatear · Sykes's Warbler · Persian Wheatear · Plain Leaf Warbler · Arabian Babbler · Purple Sunbird · Isabelline Shrike


Greater Flamingos, Ras al Khor, Dubai © Fraser Simpson

 Towering skyscrapers & long-legged waders





Everything was pretty much organised by Tony, Gerda and Angus. All I had to do was gen up and research the birds!

Click here for future SOC Touring trips.


Return from Glasgow to Dubai via Amsterdam with KLM.


Ground Transport
Arabian Adventures www.arabian-adventures.com


Hilton Al Ain - Al Sarooj District, Al Ain

Dubai Majestic - one of the few towers conveniently located in the heart of Bur Dubai


Since Arabian Adventures and Angus knew many of the sites, a map was not really needed for this type of trip. A good scale map was difficult to find for the country. I used the Explorer UAE mini map 1:550 000 (1cm = 5.5 km) which shows basic features and has a satellite image at the same scale on the reverse. Very compact, 10 x 10 cm when folded, and cheaper that the bigger brand maps (most just at 1:800 000) at £3.99 (Dhs. 25).

Tommy Pedersen's Birding the UAE online guide (www.uaebirding.com/birdingsites.html) has the latest site information and is the best source to consult for directions to the sites.


Exchange Rate November 2008
1.00 GBP = 5.49846 AED (United Arab Emirates Dirhams)


Essential Listening
The Desert Lounge - Volume 2 (EMI Music Arabia, 2007)





•     Richardson, C. 1990. The Birds of the United Arab Emirates. Hobby.

    Porter, R.F. et al. 1996. Birds of the Middle East. Helm.

    Pedersen, T. et al. 2008. Birds of the United Arab Emirates - an annotated checklist. Internet published.

    Jongbloed, M. 2000. Wild About Reptiles - Field Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of the UAE. ERWDA.
    Jongbloed, M. et al. 2002. Wild About Mammals - Field Guide to the Terrestrial Mammals of the UAE. Arabian        Leopard Trust.

•     Trip reports at Travellingbirder.com (the Internet portal to birding travel and birdwatching trip reports)


•     Useful websites:

•     UAE Birding

•     UAEbirding’s Weblog

•     www.arabianwildlife.com

•     UAE IBAs

•     BirdLife Middle East and Central Asia Homepage

•     News & Information on the United Arab Emirates





Day 00       08/11/08     Afternoon flight from Glasgow to Amsterdam. Overnight flight to Dubia.

Day 01       09/11/08     Duabi > Al Ain > Jebel Hafeet > Hotel Grand Mercure > Green Mubazzarah > Al Ain
Day 02       10/11/08     Al Ain > Lahbab Fields > Hatta > Qarn Nazwa > Al Ain
Day 03       11/11/08     Al Ain > Ghantoot > Abu Dhabi Eastern Lagoon > Al Wathba camel race track
Day 04       12/11/08     Al Ain > Green Mubazzarah > Al Ain Oasis > Ain Al Fayda lake
Day 05       13/11/08     Al Ain > Ras Al Khor > Duabi > Al Safa Park > Mushrif National Park > Dubai
Day 06       14/11/08     Dubai > Sharjah > Umm Al Quwain > Al Jazeerah Khor > Hamraniya Fields > Khatt

Day 07       15/11/08     Dubia > Masafi > Fujairah National Dairy Farm, Dibba > Fujairah > Khor Kalba > Dubai

Day 08       16/11/08     Morning flight Duabi to Glasgow via Amsterdam



MAP OF MAIN SITES VISITED   Click here to download the Google Earth file of visited sites

 UAE birding map © Fraser Simpson





Day 1
Sunday 09 November 2008
Duabi > Al Ain > Jebel Hafeet > Hotel Grand Mercure > Green Mubazzarah > Al Ain


Little Green Bee-eater, Indian Wheatear, Desert Lark, Pale Crag Martin, Hooded Wheatear, Hume's Wheatear, Persian Wheatear, Plain Leaf Warbler, Isabelline Shrike, Brown-necked Raven.

After Arabian Adventures organised our swift transfer through passport control we watched our first (mostly introduced) birds while loading up the minibus: Alexandrine Parakeet, Common Mynah, White-cheeked Bulbul and House Sparrow. Many of the sparrows were apparently much paler in plumage than European birds. Soon after 0750h our driver, Veeran, was quickly navigating his way through the busy Dubai road network to our first base in Al Ain in the east of the country.

Species noted on the drive, mostly perched on roadside wires: Indian Roller, Little Green Bee-eater, Grey Francolin, Chukar, Short-toed Eagle, Collared Dove (abundant), Laughing Dove (fairly common), Common Mynah, Southern Grey Shrike, Greater Flamingo, Common Kestrel, White-cheeked Bulbul, Crested Lark, Grey Heron, Feral Pigeon, Psittacula sp. The entire motorway was enclosed with a belt of trees on either side and along some of the central reservation, giving the false impression the we were travelling through a well vegetated landscape. In reality this was all planted and irrigated and a landscape of harsh deserts and gravel plains lay just a short distance away. A stop at a small service station produced a female Hooded Wheatear on the fence behind the building. After a couple of hours we hit the outskirts of the city of Al Ain and the road ran south along the impenetrable razor-wired fence along the Oman border. Checked into the Hilton Al Ain and after breakfast headed to the peak of Jebel Hafeet.

Persian Wheatear, Jebel Hafeet © Fraser Simpson

 Persian Wheatear near the top of Jebel Hafeet



Our first destination was the isolated peak of Jebel Hafeet (Jebel Hafit) to the south of the city of Al Ain. Soon after the minibus began the winding climb the first Hume's Warbler was sighted on a crash barrier.

Viewpoint on the way up [24º 05' 06.7'' N  055º 45' 50.2'' E] 777m
Hume's Wheatear (2) on rocky slopes above the road - one singing. Also brief views of unidentified female wheatear. Pale Crag Martin (or African Rock Martin) passing along the ridge. The layby here also attracted three Desert Larks (2 ads + juv) to feed on the level ground. A peach coloured flush was evident on the lower breast. Egyptian Vulture passed overhead.


Second stop slightly higher up [24º 05' 02.3'' N  055º 45' 52.6'' E] 824m
Better views of the Egyptian Vultures here with at least 20 birds including several dark juveniles. A group of 13 was perched on a telecommunications mast. Desert Lark (2) - flight call like a distant squeezy toy. Pale Crag Martin (1) overhead.


View from Jebel Hafeet © Fraser Simpson

 View of the 700 metre drop to the desert below Jebel Hafeet




Top of Jebel Hafeet [24º 03' 32.8'' N  055º 46' 40.1'' E] 1036m
Birded around the cafe on the plateau below the peak. Very active pair of Hume's Wheatear including singing male. A pair of Brown-necked Raven passed over at 1416h. Desert Lark (5+). Persian Wheatear (f) showing at close range.


Telecommunications mast [24º 04' 24.7'' N  055º 46' 25.5'' E] 983m
At least 27 Egyptian Vultures perched on the red and white mast here. Spectacular, though hazy, views over the desert and the city of Al Ain. Pale Crag Martin (1), Feral Pigeon (3).


Hume's Wheatear, Jebel Hafeet © Fraser Simpson

 Male Hume's Wheatear singing & displaying to a female on Jebel Hafeet



[24º 04' 43.2'' N  055º 46' 06.5'' E] 932m
After a drink in the hotel we birded the verdant gardens in the hope of some migrants.

Plain Leaf Warbler buzzing around high up in a small clump of palms. Very difficult to observe and only viewed briefly in the open for a few seconds. Eastern Black Redstart (phoencuroides) - adult male + imm, Blue Rock Thrush singing under a near full moon on the small cliff here, Pale Crag Martin (5), House Sparrow (14) - pale plumaged birds, Red-vented Bulbul (2) singing and sharing the same palms with two White-cheeked Bulbuls. A Masked Shrike was also glimpsed by Keith Martin.


[24º 06' 21.6'' N  055º 44' 58.3'' E] 283m
This is an extensive man-made parkland set in a valley near the base of Jebel Hafeet and reclaimed from the barren landscape by 'greening' the slopes through sprinklers and irrigation. Arrived at 1655h for the last hour of daylight and checked around the main picnic area before following a small vegetated stream with tamarisks on the banks, running towards the entrance gate. Indian Rollers were particularly obvious with birds flying between lamp posts. At least nine present in the immediate area. Noted around the picnic area: Isabelline Shrike (1st-w), Little Green Bee-eater (2), Grey Francolin (1), Blue Rock Thrush (1), Common Kestrel (1), Cattle Egret (6), White Wagtail (11), Grey Heron (1), House Sparrow (numerous) - large roost forming with many flocks coming in from a northerly direction.

Following the marshy stream towards dusk the best birds were Bluethroat (1st-w), Graceful Prinia (2) in a giant rush, and a Lesser Whitethroat keeping well hidden. Also noted:, Laughing Dove (2), Cattle Egret (3), Common Sandpiper (1), White-cheeked Bulbul (6), and Collared Dove (1).


Green Mubazzarah © Fraser Simpson

 Greening the desert with water sprinklers at Green Mubazzarah park



Red-wattled Lapwing (2) flew over calling around the hotel grounds in the evening at dinner.


Blue Rock Thrush, Jebel Hafeet © Fraser Simpson

 Male Blue Rock Thrush under the Moon at Gran Mercure Hotel




Day 2
Monday 10 November 2008
Al Ain > Lahbab Fields > Hatta > Qarn Nazwa > Al Ain

Purple Sunbird, Little Green Bee-eater, Indian Roller, 'Masked' Wagtail, Red-wattled Lapwing, Isabelline Shrike, Persian Wheatear, Pharaoh Eagle Owl, Variable Wheatear.

Checked the fairly extensive hotel grounds after breakfast. Gardens, mini golf course, sprinkler-fed lawns, and palms around the swimming pools. Best birds among the common and introduced species were Purple Sunbird (10+), Indian Roller (1), Great Reed Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat (2), Great Reed Warbler (1), Graceful Prinia (1), Indian Silverbill (1) and Hoopoe (1). Other species noted: Common Mynah, White Wagtail (1), Laughing Dove (10), House Sparrow, White-spectacled Bulbul, White-cheeked Bulbul, Red-vented Bulbul, and Collared Dove.



Species noted on the drive through barren landscapes broken only by Acacia (Acacia tortilis) plains and patches of Ghaff (Prosopis cineraria) trees: Little Green Bee-eater (6), Indian Roller (4), Southern Grey Shrike (1), Pale Crag Martin (2), Laughing Dove, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Crested Lark, House Sparrow, White-cheeked Bulbul, Feral Pigeon, Psittacula parakeets, Collared Dove, and Barn Swallow. Dead Long-legged Buzzard entangled in electrical wires.


[24º 24' 03.9'' N  055º 47' 50.9'' E] 310m
0840h The highlight here was a Masked Wagtail (personata) with two alba White Wagtails on the edge of the dune. Sand Skink (Scincus mitranus) and a few other unidentified, faster moving lizards. Many tracks in the sand. Also House Sparrow (10+) and Collared Dove (2) at the petrol station.


Dunes, United Arab Emirates © Fraser Simpson

 Searching for larks in the dunes



[24º 29' 22.6'' N  055º 46' 25.9'' E] 339m
0900h Walked a short distance into the red sand dunes. We looked for Hoopoe Lark but the best bird was Black-crowned Finch-Lark. Also Marsh Harrier, Laughing Dove, White-cheeked Bulbul, Ring-necked Parakeet, and Feral Pigeon.


Pale Crag Martin (African Rock Martin) © Fraser Simpson

 Pale Crag Martin (or African Rock Martin)



[25º 01' 22.7'' N  055º 37' 14.6'' E] 137m
1050h Irrigated green fields managed for camel fodder. We couldn't find any access to the fields and had to make do with scoping through the fence as all gates were locked. The grass wasn't too lush and a passing tractor failed to flush any hidden pipits. The sprinkler heads are used as vantage point perches by shrikes and rollers. Southern Grey Shrikes (2) were dominant at the favoured sprinkler heads and regularly displaced the smaller Isabelline Shrikes (6). Little Green Bee-eater (3) catching the numerous small yellow butterflies - Blue Spotted Arab (Colotis phisadia). Eastern Olivaceous Warbler uttering subsong from dense cover. Red-wattled Lapwing (6) sheltering from the sun under trees along the perimeter fence. Indian Roller displaying. Several Laughing Doves singing. Other species noted: Indian Roller (3), Graceful Prinia (1), Pallid Swift (4), Crested Lark, Grey Francolin (1), Chukar (2), Lesser Whitethroat (1), House Sparrow, Collared Dove, Common Mynah, Feral Pigeon and White-cheeked Bulbul. Three impressive swallowtail butterflies observed - Lime Butterfly (Papilio demoleus)


White-cheeked Bulbul, Green Mubazzarah © Fraser Simpson

 White-cheeked Bulbul - one of several introduced bulbuls in the UAE



[24º 49' 11.9'' N  056º 08' 5.9'' E] 319m

Had lunch here. The flower bed outside the main entrance had two butterflies: one Blue Pansy (Precis orithya) and 20+ Blue Spotted Arab (Colotis phisadia). Also noted: Purple Sunbird (7), Indian Silverbill (1), Indian Roller (1), Pale Rock Martin (2), White Wagtail (1) and numerous House Sparrows. Two Hume's Wheatears and a possible Cuckoo were seen by other members of the group.


Blue Pansy, Hatta © Fraser Simpson

 Blue Pansy butterfly in Hatta Fort Hotel gardens



[24º 48' 34.2'' N  056º 11' 13'' E] 253m
1450h This site was completely dry following a few years of drought. Birding was slow though a small group of Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse was flushed by Mike Howes. They couldn't be relocated and time constraints meant we couldn't search more thoroughly. The landscape was impressive in the Hatta area with layers of mountains rising into the distance. Two or three Short-toed Eagle (sometimes know as Short-toed Snake Eagle) over the surrounding ridges. Brown-necked Raven (2), Hume's Wheatear (1), Persian Wheatear, Common Kestrel (2) and Feral Pigeon.


Hajar Mountains at Hatta © Fraser Simpson

 Al Hajar Mountains - view of the ridges & peaks from Hatta



[24º 59' 00.0'' N  055º 39' 37.7'' E] 160m
This is a well known stake out for Pharaoh Eagle Owl and Variable Wheatear (or Eastern Pied Wheatear). Arrived at 1625h at checked the southern end of the limestone outcrop and found Persian Wheatear (4). In the last hour of daylight we moved along the road to view the holes and ledges in the steep rocky slope. Little Green Bee-eater, Southern Grey Shrike, Laughing Dove, Variable Wheatear (m + f), and House Sparrow. A pair of Brown-necked Ravens flew past at 1740h. Shortly afterwards an Arabian Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes arabica) appeared. After sunset, a Pharaoh Eagle Owl appeared on the ridge, silhouetted against the skyline. Calling much of the time. Ten minutes later a second bird appeared and sat a few metres away. We left in darkness, after the pair flew off to hunt.


Pharaoh Eagle Owl site, Qarn Nazwa © Fraser Simpson

 Waiting for Pharaoh Eagle Owl at Qarn Nazwa



Day 3
Tuesday 11 November 2008
Al Ain > Ghantoot > Abu Dhabi Eastern Lagoon > Al Wathba camel race track


Cream-coloured Courser, Greater Spotted Eagle, Citrine Wagtail, Isabelline Wheatear, Desert Wheatear.



Red-wattled Lapwing heard calling in the darkness in the first few minutes of the day.

0615h Several members of the group assembled early for a check of the hotel grounds this morning.

Purple Sunbird (12), Grey Francolin, Hoopoe (3), Graceful Prinia (1), Southern Grey Shrike (1), Lesser Whitethroat (1), White Wagtail (3), Laughing Dove (40+), House Sparrow (30+), Ring-necked Parakeet (4) and several unidentified Psittacula parakeets over regularly, White-cheeked Bulbul, Common Mynah (5), and Collared Dove.


Fairly productive stretch of road with several species noted on the drive.

Indian Roller (3); two in Al Jimi district in Al Ain, one at Al Hassa Emarat petrol station.

Laughing Dove (hundreds), Collared Dove (hundreds), Pale Crag Martin (2), Purple Sunbird (1), Southern Grey Shrike (10)

Little Green Bee-eater (14), Indian Silverbill (2), Brown-necked Raven (5), White-spectacled Bulbul (1), White-cheeked Bulbul (31), Red-wattled Lapwing and Black-winged Stilt (4) on a roadside pool near the entrance to Dubai Pipes Factory, Kestrel (2), Crested Lark (1), House Sparrow (13), Common Mynah (8), Feral Pigeon (103), and a Hawker dragonfly, possibly an Anax sp.


Red-wattled Lapwing, Safa Park © Fraser Simpson

 Red-wattled Lapwing in Safa Park, Dubai



[24º 51' 49.4'' N  054º 54' 03.5'' E] 16m

First we checked the palm plantation on the other side of the road from the polo club as this is the well known locality for Grey Hypocolius. As we were now experiencing the heat of the day, the prospect of finding one of my 'top ten UAE most wanted' seemed unlikely. Red-wattled Lapwing (2) on rough, dry ground along the roadside. Grey Francolin (2), Southern Grey Shrike (4), House Sparrow, White-cheeked Bulbul, Laughing Dove, Feral Pigeon, Barn Swallow (1), Psittacula sp. (5). Six Cream-coloured Coursers flew over and dropped on to one of the fields in the polo club.

Butterflies noted: Plain Tiger (Danaus chrysippus) and Blue Spotted Arab (Colotis phisadia).



The guard at the polo club entrance refused to allow us to enter and have a look at the fields. We had to make do with 'scoping from the perimeter fence. Good views of the field closest to the road produced a few good birds and restricted views of further, out-of-range fields revealed even more Cream-coloured Coursers (27+). Tawny Pipit (7), Hoopoe (2), Crested Lark (24), Southern Grey Shrike (1), House Sparrow (6), Laughing Dove, and Common Mynah (5).


Between Ghantoot and Dubai the scale of development was insurmountable and few species were noted: Southern Grey Shrike (1), Black-winged Stilt (5), Cattle Egret (3), Collared Dove, Common Mynah, and Feral Pigeon (11).


[24º 26' 37.7'' N  054º 25' 22.9'' E] 0-2m
As the bus was heading into the city on road 22 along the northern side of Abu Dhabi island, the mangroves of the Eastern Lagoon were visible. I was spotted a huge raptor, suspecting the target eagle, and Angus confirmed it was a Greater Spotted Eagle. Just by chance, Veeran, our driver found a layby/parking strip and we all piled out of the bus to 'scope not one but two eagles!! A small number of waders were roosting as it appeared to be high tide. At one point the eagles drifted directly overhead towards the urban sprawl and flushed many of the waders: Common Redshank (13), Spotted Redshank (1), Greenshank (1), Whimbrel (25), Common Sandpiper (2), and Turnstone (2). A White-tailed Lapwing was seen by Mike Howes and a couple of fortunate others. Also Marsh Harrier (1), Common Kestrel (1), Cattle Egret (8), White-cheeked Bulbul and Feral Pigeon.


Greater Spotted Eagle, Abu Dhabi © Fraser Simpson

 Greater Spotted Eagle drifting from the mangroves to the city at Abu Dhabi's Eastern Lagoons



Species noted in the city: Laughing Dove, White-cheeked Bulbul, Common Mynah, Collared Dove, House Sparrow, and Feral Pigeon. Several urban artworks and logos around the city showed the image of a falcon illustrating the significance of these birds in traditional culture.


Slow traffic and many red lights actually turned out to be propitious for once with surprises in the form of Citrine Wagtail and Water Pipit (2) feeding on the roadside grass verges. These strips of grass are continuously sprinkled with water and are obviously attractive to several species. Also Chukar, House Crow, Crested Lark, Common Mynah (80+), Grey Francolin (4), Common Kestrel, and Black-winged Stilt (12).


[24º 14' 04.5'' N  054º 39' 14.5'' E] 22m
This huge, airport-sized race track southeast of Abu Dhabi was checked for wheatears, pipits, wagtails and harriers. The once irrigated grass fodder fields within the track circuit are now pretty much gone. The dry landscape did have plenty of knee-high xerophytic scrub which proved productive for Desert Wheatear and Isabelline Wheatear. We scoured a small part of the area until sunset finding Isabelline Wheatear (14), Desert Wheatear (6), Tawny Pipit (2), Trumpeter Finch (5), Yellow Wagtail (1 o/h), Barn Swallow (40+), Crested Lark (20), Marsh Harrier (imm male), White Wagtail (3), and Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse (5 o/h 1705h). I headed off on my own to investigate why the swallows were concentrating their feeding around one very small area - as a result I missed six Bimaculated Larks seen by the rest of the group.




Day 4
Wednesday 12 November 2008
Al Ain > Green Mubazzarah > Al Ain Oasis > Ain Al Fayda lake


Plain Leaf Warbler, Hooded Wheatear, Persian Wheatear, Marsh Sandpiper, Citrine Wagtail (Barbary Falcon & Sand Partridge seen by most of the main group).


Common Mynah calling from balcony of my room this morning. A Laughing Dove also flew in and settled for a short time.


Green Mubazzarah © Fraser Simpson

 Water cannon at Green Mubazzarah park



[24º 06' 21.6'' N  55º 44' 58.3'' E] 283m
0810h A second visit to the Green Mubazzarah park initially proved slow with few additions around the picnic area and stream. Later a walk to the southern end and into the more natural scrub and the gorge provided several goodies!

Before we were even off the bus this morning, Keith spotted an albino bird on the grass in the company of a few Desert Larks. The bird itself was indeed an albino Desert Lark and was quickly photographed by several members of the group. The larks were very approachable and steady, careful stalking allowed close contact with a photogenic bird. Species noted around the picnic site and stream: Indian Roller (4), Isabelline Wheatear (1), Persian Wheatear (1), Hume's Wheatear (1), Little Green Bee-eater (4), Graceful Prinia (3), Tawny Pipit (4), Bluethroat (1), Pale Crag Martin (2), Purple Sunbird (2), Southern Grey Shrike (3), Common Kestrel (3), White Wagtail (6), White-spectacled Bulbul (1), White-cheeked Bulbul (12), Grey Heron (1), Common Mynah (5), Common Sandpiper (1), House Sparrow, Collared Dove, and Feral Pigeon. A Common Mynah was observed diving on grasshoppers into a thick, succulent forming a low patch of dense cover. Once one was caught, it flew a short distance to some grass where two White-spectacled Bulbuls flew in and attempted to steal the Mynah's prey!


Desert Lark, Green Mubazzarah © Fraser Simpson

 Desert Lark feeding in water-sprinkled grass at Green Mubazzarah park




Gorge further in at the southern end of the park

[24º 05' 55.9'' N  55º 44' 55.0'' E] 288m

Moving in to the gorge at the southern end of the park, the scrub was checked for warblers. A very obliging 1st-winter male Hooded Wheatear proved more than a distraction for me, so much so that I later missed Barbary Falcon and Sand Partridge as the main group caught up with these superb bird in the gorge. The scrub held Plain Leaf Warbler (1), Chiffchaff (2+), Lesser Whitethroat (1), and Eastern Black Redstart (4). The dry rocky slope to the west revealed Hooded Wheatear (2), Hume's Wheatear (3), Persian Wheatear (2), Little Green Bee-eater (2), Common Kestrel (1), and an Indian Roller mobbing a passing Grey Heron. A Plain Tiger (Danaus chrysippus) butterfly was the insect highlight here and a snake in the gorge seen by Mike Howes was later identified as a Wadi Racer (Coluber rhodorhachis).


Hooded Wheatear, Green Mubazzarah © Fraser Simpson

 A showy 1st-winter male Hooded Wheatear near the entrance to the gorge at Green Mubazzarah



[24º 13' 02.8'' N  55º 46' 40.1'' E] 293m
Large date palm plantation which provided some nice shade in the heat of the day after lunch. No new species were added to the trip list here: Little Green Bee-eater (3), Purple Sunbird (2), Graceful Prinia (3), Indian Silverbill (1), Chiffchaff (1), Lesser Whitethroat (1), Grey Francolin (7+), Accipiter sp. (1), White-cheeked Bulbul (several), Red-vented Bulbul (1), House Sparrow (common).


[24º 04' 57.1'' N  55º 46' 00.9'' E] 239m

Due to the drought, the site Angus was looking for here seemed to have disappeared! While taking a track into the desert a 4x4 revved up with a couple of smartly attired arabs. Most of us, I think, suspected we may have been somewhere we shouldn't but the guys turned out to be very friendly and helpful and they knew of a site with water and birds! They even tried to get all 22 of us into the back of their pickup! After a joke involving an exchange of oil for Scottish water, we were soon scoping a shallow wetland (GPS position above) surrounded with mud: Marsh Sandpiper (1), Wood Sandpiper (9), Citrine Wagtail (4), Temminck's Stint (2), Kentish Plover (2), Eurasian Teal (6), Mallard (80+), Yellow Wagtail (1), White Wagtail (1), Crested Lark (2), White-spectacled Bulbul (4+), White-cheeked Bulbul (25+), Grey Francolin (5), House Sparrow (100+). At least 10 Vagrant Emperors were noted at this site. Novelties involved a Marabou Stork and a dead Egyptian Goose. As the sun set we decided to trace out tracks back to the main road before nightfall and after a couple of circles and failed attempts we headed back to the Hilton for our final night there.



Day 5
Thursday 13 November 2008
Al Ain > Ras Al Khor (Duabi Khor Wildlife Sanctuary) > Duabi > Al Safa Park > Mushrif National Park > Dubai


Osprey, Western Reef Egret, Terek Sandpiper, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Greater Spotted Eagle, Lesser Sand Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Caspian Tern, Greater Flamingo, Red-wattled Lapwing, Olive-backed Pipit, Bruce's Scops Owl.


Common Mynah calling from balcony of my room again this morning, It was fairly easy to mimic and was certainly curious about entering the room! We departed from the Al Ain area this morning to our second base in Dubai.

Western Reef Egret, Ras al Khor, Dubai © Fraser Simpson

 A white-phase Western Reef Egret close to the Mangrove hide at Ras al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary in Dubai




Species noted on the drive NW on road E66 via Al Faqa: Little Green Bee-eater (1), Southern Grey Shrike (6), Hoopoe (2), Marsh Harrier (2), Osprey (1), Indian Roller (1), Common Kestrel (1), White-spectacled Bulbul, Psittacula sp., Laughing Dove, Collared Dove, White-cheeked Bulbul, and Cattle Egret (1).


[25º 11' 27.1'' N  55º 18' 39.9'' E] 184

Pale Crag Martin (2), House Sparrow and Feral Pigeon.


[25º 11' 27.1'' N  55º 18' 39.9'' E]

1030h Also known as Khor Dubai this reserve occupies the head of the large tidal creek, five kilometres inland of the Gulf. It is a gem of a place with hundreds of waders and herons and very close views of Greater Flamingos. It was established as a wildlife sanctuary in 1985 after ornithological surveys revealed it to be internationally significant. The two hides, both with security wardens and 'scopes, were excellent for viewing and photographing birds from - not something manufacturers of hides in the UK always get right. This site lies close to the international airport for Dubai and with amount of migratory waders dependent on Ras Al Khor it is clear that this is one of the major migratory refuelling hubs for birds in the UAE.


Mangrove Hide:

The sheer volume of birds on view here meant we barely had time to assess numbers and thoroughly check the flocks. I probably missed many species and many distant birds were unidentifiable in the heat haze: Great Egret (21), Western Reef Egret (20+), Little Stint (1500+), Broad-billed Sandpiper (6+), Lesser Sand Plover (600+), Greater Sand Plover (10+), Kentish Plover (150+), Terek Sandpiper (1), Caspian Tern (14), Dunlin (200+), Curlew Sandpiper (13), Common Redshank (10+), Greenshank (10+), Temminck's Stint (1), Grey Heron (11), Little Green Bee-eater (4), Little Egret (1), Black-winged Stilt (10+), Greater Flamingo (35), Red-wattled Lapwing, Ringed Plover, Sandwich Tern (3), Spotted Redshank (1), Great Cormorant (12+), Northern Pintail (3), Northern Shoveler (3), Common Snipe (30+), Bar-tailed Godwit (4+), Curlew (15+), Common Teal (30+), Mallard (40+), Grey Plover (1), and Black-headed Gull.

On the raptor front, two Greater Spotted Eagles soaring in the same field of view of the World's tallest building was something else, but three Ospreys and a Marsh Harriers competed in the top predator stakes!


Waders at Ras al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary © Fraser Simpson

Huge mixed flock of waders at Ras al Khor against the Dubai skyline




Flamingo Hide:

The spectacle of the mass of Greater Flamingos was such a draw for photographs that I never really made time of our short visit here to check out the other species: Greater Flamingo (200+), Greater Spotted Eagle (2), Marsh Harrier (1), and Osprey (1) noted.


Greater Flamingos, Ras al Khor, Dubai © Fraser Simpson


Greater Flamingo, Ras al Khor, Dubai © Fraser Simpson


Greater Flamingos, Ras al Khor, Dubai © Fraser Simpson


Greater Flamingo, Ras al Khor, Dubai © Fraser Simpson

 Greater Flamingos at Ras al Khor, Dubai




After lunch, a quick scan of the creek here produced: Caspian Gull (2), Heuglin's Gull (1), Slender-billed Gull (2), Black-headed Gull (17), House Crow, Common Mynah, and House Sparrow. Nine Cattle Egrets were observed on a nearby roundabout.


Common Mynah, Safa Park © Fraser Simpson

Common Mynah in Safa Park - an introduced species



[25º 11' 05.0'' N  55º 14' 35.1'' E]

Probably the most famous city park for urban birding in the UAE, Saffa Park has a mix of lawns, grassland, artificial lakes, tree-lined avenues, and patches of acacia and casuarina. Highlight here were the five Olive-backed Pipits feeding under a small copse with a ground cover clear of vegetation save for dead leaves. Species noted: Hoopoe (20+), Red-wattled Lapwing (5), Chiffchaff (6) including 3-4 Siberian tristis, Alexandrine Parakeet (10+), Grey Francolin (7), Ring-necked Parakeet (20), Common Mynah (200+), Red-vented Bulbul (2), Purple Sunbird (20+), House Crow (200+) forming a noisy roost at dusk, Grey Wagtail (1), White Wagtail (1), Common Sandpiper (7), Olive-backed Pipit (5).


House Crow, Safa Park © Fraser Simpson

House Crow in Safa Park - possibly another introduced species ?


Pied Mynah, Safa Park © Fraser Simpson

 Pied Mynah in Safa Park - yet another intro



[25º 13' 25.0'' N  55º 27' 08.0'' E]

1750h Mushrif National Park is a 600 hectare reserve of natural woodland with Ghaf and Acacia. This site was visited for Otus brucei - aka Pale/Pallid/Striated/Bruce's Scops Owl! One was eventually heard and possibly briefly seen in flight. Much more cooperative was a Saw-scaled Viper (Echis carinatus). I initially didn't realise that this was a potentially dangerous viper as the eye pupil was circular, but in darkness this snake's usual 'slit' iris expands to compensate for the low light of night! It was initially seen 'side-winding' along the road before stopping to shelter against the kerb. An unidentified Gecko was also seen briefly.


Saw-scaled Viper, Mushrif National Park © Fraser Simpson

 Saw-scaled Viper after dark in Mushrif National Park




Day 6
Friday 14 November 2008
Dubai > Sharjah > Umm Al Quwain > Al Jazeerah Khor > Bin Majid Beach Hotel > Hamraniya Fields > Khatt


Socotra Cormorant, Arabian Babbler, Crab Plover, Lesser Sand Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Western Reef Egret, Terek Sandpiper, Swift Tern, Lesser Crested Tern, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Pied Wheatear.



Pale Crag Martin around the hotel 'tower' after breakfast.



Species noted the drive NE on road E11: Collared Dove, Common Mynah, Laughing Dove, Feral Pigeon, Crested Lark, Greater Flamingo (6), large white-headed gull (250+), Grey Heron (6), Great Egret (1), House Sparrow, White-cheeked Bulbul, Barn Swallow (1), Mallard (2), Indian Roller (2), House Crow (30+), Socotra Cormorant (7S, 2N, 5S, 2N) as we approached Umm al Quwain breakwater.


[25º 35' 51.6'' N  55º 34' 33.1'' E]

Excellent vantage point for watching the daily movements of Socotra Cormorants in the gulf. At least 1000 birds passed, mainly to the north, in just over an hour here. Species noted from the beach just south of the breakwater: Swift Tern (1N at 0950h, 1N at 0955h, 1N at 0958h), Purple Heron (1), Western Reed Egret (2), Lesser Sand Plover (50+), Greater Sand Plover (20+), Kentish Plover (2), Sanderling (4), Turnstone (27), Dunlin (1), Common Sandpiper (1), Common Kestrel (1), Common Redshank (1), Heuglin's Gull, Crested Lark, Little Green Bee-eater (2), Hoopoe (1), and White Wagtail (1). Vagrant Emperor (Anax ephippiger); three males buzzing blue bag litter on the beach.


Socotra Cormorants, Umm al Quwain © Fraser Simpson

 Socotra Cormorants moving along the coast of the Persian Gulf at Umm al Quwain




Species noted the drive NE on road E11: Little Green Bee-eater (15), Brown-necked Raven on pylon, Pallid Swift (2), Grey Francolin (1), Red-wattled Lapwing (1), Indian Roller (1), Southern Grey Shrike (1), Pale Crag Martin (1), Laughing Dove and Collared Dove scarce in this area, Crested Lark, Feral Pigeon, House Sparrow and House Crow. Passing along around five miles of superb coastline at Khor al Beidah revealed thousands of migrant waders as well as Great Egret, Grey Heron and Greater Flamingo.


[25º 43'04.5'' N  55º 51' 15.6'' E] 10m

Southern end:

The shallow, saline lagoon here is one of the main sites for many people's target bird in the Emirates - Crab Plover! It turned out to be a disappointment with the only possible Crab Plovers being UTV's... 'white dots' about two miles away! Observations from the high roadside dune revealed many good birds though most were at some considerable range: Terek Sandpiper (34) were roosting in the pool at the foot of the dune; at least three Arabian Babblers were in scrub on the seaward slope of the dune; six Little Green Bee-eaters performed wonderfully in front of us; at least 240 Greater Flamingos in the tidal lagoons; a distant flock probably made up mostly of White-cheeked or Common Terns; plus Crested Tern, Spoonbill (2), Pale Crag Martin, Greenshank, Heuglin's Gull, Western Reef Egret, Great Egret, Grey Plover, Ringed Plover, Osprey, Marsh Harrier, Kentish Plover, Redshank, Grey Heron, House Sparrow and Collared Dove.


Little Green Bee-eater, Al Jazeerah Khor © Fraser Simpson

 Little Green Bee-eater resting in dune scrub at Al Jazeerah Khor



[25º 43' 39.4'' N  55º 52' 25.0'' E] 30m

Northern end:

After lunch at Bin Majid Beach Hotel we made another attempt for Crab Plover... the same birds we were trying to view before, but this time from a vantage point several kilometres north. The bus was stopped at a likely looking track heading over the dunes to the sea and Angus made a quick recce to the top of the dune to assess the situation... it was game on and we all piled up the dune to scope for Dromas. And the views really were much better as we watched at least 34 birds, many of them living up to their name and regularly dispatching of fiddler crags. This is one of those species that looks so much better than an illustration in a field guide and the Arabian light certainly helps to illuminate this striking wader. Probably bird of the trip for most observers!

Species noted: Swift Tern (70+), Lesser Crested Tern (4+), Slender-billed Gull (200+), Heuglin's Gull (60+), Steppe Gull (20+), Caspian Gull (10+), Oystercatcher (30+), Ringed Plover (30+), Greater Flamingo, Bar-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, Terek Sandpiper, Grey Plover (30+), Caspian Tern, Black-headed Gull, and Osprey.


Crab Plover site, Al Jazeerah Khor © Fraser Simpson

The north end of Al Jazeerah Khor where Crab Plovers showed well




Species noted the drive: Little Green Bee-eater (4), Indian Roller (2), House Crow (40+), Common Mynah (13), Grey Francolin (3), White-cheeked Bulbul, Collared Dove (abundant), White Wagtail (1), and Barn Swallow (1).


Roadside petrol stop
[25º 37' 24.6'' N  55º 56' 38.1'' E] 12m

Late afternoon and a movement of sandgrouse was evident. They were too distant for ID but Chestnut-bellied most likely. Flocks from 1608h: 5 + 18 + 12 + 2 moving north over the airfield.

Scanned the ankle-high scrub with scattered bushes: Little Green Bee-eater (2), Indian Roller (1), Grey Francolin (4), Laughing Dove (4), Southern Grey Shrike (1), Crested Lark (1), Pale Crag Martin (1), Common Kestrel (1), Common Mynah, House Sparrow, and Collared Dove.


[25º 36' 36.2'' N  55º 55' 34.6'' E] 22m

Dry, dusty agricultural fields with occasional trees and bushes and irrigated fodder fields with Ghaf trees (Prosopis cineraria). Best bird here was probably the Scrub Warbler seen briefly by Keith Martin. Species noted: Red-wattled Lapwing (3), Graceful Prinia (2), Purple Sunbird (4), White-spectacled Bulbul, Little Green Bee-eater (3), Lesser Whitethroat (2), Tawny Pipit (2), Southern Grey Shrike (1), Eastern Black Redstart (1), Chiffchaff (1), Hoopoe (1), Crested Lark (1), Collared Dove, White-cheeked Bulbul, and Feral Pigeon.



[25º 36' 58.0'' N  56º 00' 42.3'' E] 22m

Species noted the drive around the area: Hume's Wheatear perched on an acacia at the Ain Khath Tourist Resort, Southern Grey Shrike (2), and Little Green Bee-eater (3).


[25º 36' 41.4'' N  55º 58' 59.9'' E] 18m

The wetland areas at Khatt were completely dry so we tried some irrigated field in the fading light of the day. The newly mown grass, irrigated with sprinklers at the GPS location above provided two unexpected Pied Wheatears, Red-wattled Lapwing (10+), Indian Roller (2), Little Green Bee-eater (3), and Mallard (10+).




Day 7
Saturday 15 November 2008
Dubai > Masafi > Fujairah National Dairy Farm, Dibba > Fujairah > Khor Kalba > Dubai


Sociable Lapwing, Greater Spotted Eagle, Richard's Pipit, Siberian Stonechat, Indian Pond Heron, White-collared Kingfisher, Sykes's Warbler, Bridled Tern, Sooty Gull, Saunders' Tern, White-cheeked Tern, Swift Tern, Back-crowned Finch Lark.


Lime Butterfly (Papilio demoleus) © Fraser Simpson

 Lime Swallowtail mud-puddling at Fujairah National Dairy Farm



[25º 36' 08.7'' N  56º 14' 04.7'' E] 32m

This site is right on the border with Oman and some of the raptors observed were coming over the striking mountains just over the border. The irrigated fodder fields, cow pens, and small wet pools and ditches provided some great birding but time dictated that we could only cover part of the site and surely more good birds were present here. Of all the irrigated grasslands visited this week, the dairy farm has the lushest fields and greatest potential.

Highlights here included Sociable Lapwing (1), White-tailed Lapwing (1), Siberian Stonechat (2), Indian Pond Heron (1), Greater Spotted Eagle (1), Richard's Pipit (2), and Water Pipit (4). Good numbers of other species: Indian Roller (22), Red-wattled Lapwing (40+), Cattle Egret (48), Isabelline Shrike (1), Indian Silverbill (14+), White Stork (5), Common Teal (10), Eastern Black Redstart (1), Marsh Harrier (1), Ruff (5), Snipe sp., Graceful Prinia (1), Laughing Dove, House Crow, Common Mynah, White Wagtail, Collared Dove, Feral Pigeon, House Sparrow, Common Kestrel (2), Purple Sunbird, Hoopoe, and Crested Lark. Insects of note: Oasis Skimmer (Orthetrum sabina), Scarlet Dragonfly (Crocothemis erythraea), Plain Tiger (Danaus chrysippus) and an impressive swallowtail - the Lime Butterfly (Papilio demoleus) imbibing nutrients from cow dung and mud in the farmyard.


Sprinkler at Fujairah National Dairy Farm, © Fraser Simpson

 Water sprinkler in the fodder fields at Fujairah National Dairy Farm


Oasis Skimmer (Orthetrum sabina) © Fraser Simpson

 Oasis Skimmer resting at a tiny pool in the fodder fields at Fujairah National Dairy Farm



[25º 00' 42.1'' N  56º 21' 45.0'' E] 0-6m
This mangrove tidal creek with extensive patches of Black Mangrove (Avicennia marina) on the Al Batinah coast on the Gulf of Oman is the site for the kalbaensis race of White-collared Kingfisher. This species was up there with Crab Plover in my ten most wanted UAE birds and despite developments pressures at this site it appears the birds are still easy to see. Within a minute of arriving I found one at the north eastern corner of the site. At least three birds were present and these big, impressive kingfishers regularly flew from dead branches on the edge of the mangroves to plunge on to crabs in the muddy creek. As with fish-eating species, these birds returned to a perch and beat the crabs off a branch before getting to the flesh. An impressive number of 18 Indian Pond Herons were feeding out on the mud, far from the cover of vegetation. A wee broon bird (LBJ) attracted attention in a lone mangrove tree on the bank of the north side. It eventually flew to some nearby scrub, before returning to the mangrove tree. All ID features pointed to Sykes's Warbler - lucky indeed as our time here, as always, was limited and a proper search of the mangroves further up the creek seemed unlikely.

Other species noted: Terek Sandpiper (7), Common Kingfisher (1), Osprey (1), Greater Sand Plover (7), Lesser Sand Plover (5), Kentish Plover (3), Tawny Pipit (2), Black-winged Stilt (4), Common Redshank (1), Greenshank (5), Curlew (2), Whimbrel (10+), and White Wagtail.


[25º 00' 45.8'' N  56º 22' 08.7'' E] 0-3m
Despite the constant noise and distraction of boys on their quad toys the scene offshore was quite stunning with huge numbers of terns and gulls. Bridled Tern (abundant), Swift Tern (numerous), Lesser Crested Tern (100+), Sooty Gull, Saunders' Tern, Slender-billed Gull, Arctic Tern (3), Common Tern and White-cheeked Tern (60+). In the dunes we found a Desert Wheatear and seven Black-crowned Finch Larks (3 mm + 4 ff/imms).


[25º 01' 42.9'' N  56º 21' 59.3'' E] 0-3m
Large numbers of birds starting to roost on the exposed mud in the last hour of daylight. Regularly disturbed by an Arctic Skua which eventually came to rest on an oil drum. The mixed congregation contained: Sooty Gull, Swift Tern, Lesser Crested Tern, Sandwich Tern, Saunders' Tern, Common Tern, White-cheeked Tern, Slender-billed Gull, Heuglin's Gull, Steppe Gull, Caspian Gull, Greenshank, Kentish Plover, Lesser Sand Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Ringed Plover, Whimbrel, Black-headed Gull and Oystercatcher. A dark-phase Western Reed Egret and Arabian Red Fox hunted around the edge of the throng. A Great Cormorant also flew south.


[25º 01' 42.9'' N  56º 21' 59.3'' E] 0-3m
Two Hume's Wheatears were noted in the fading light, signalling the end of a fantastic week.


 Egyptian Vulture, Brown-necked Raven, Black-crowned Finch Lark, Indian Roller & Hoopoe © Fraser Simpson

 More birds from the trip



UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Species List 9-15 November 2008

 top of page



seen/heard by other members of the group


seen/heard by me



09th    Jebel Hafeet, Hotel Grand Mercure, Green Mubazzarah
10th    Lahbab Fields, Hatta, Qarn Nazwa
11th    Ghantoot, Abu Dhabi Eastern Lagoon, Al Wathba camel race track
12th    Green Mubazzara, Al Ain Oasis, Ain Al Fayda lake
13th    Ras Al Khor, Al Safa Park, Mushrif National Park, Dubai
14th    Umm Al Quwain, Al Jazeerah Khor, Hamraniya Fields, Khatt

15th    Fujairah National Dairy Farm, Dibba, Khor Kalba










Persian Shearwater

Puffinus lherminieri persicus








Great Cormorant

Phalacrocorax carbo








Socotra Cormorant

Phalacrocorax nigrogularis








Grey Heron

Ardea cinerea








Purple Heron

Ardea purpurea








Great Egret

Egretta alba








Little Egret

Egretta garzetta








Western Reef Heron

Egretta gularis








Cattle Egret

Bubulcus ibis








Indian Pond Heron

Ardeola grayii








White Stork

Ciconia ciconia








Eurasian Spoonbill

Platalea leucorodia








Greater Flamingo

Phoenicopterus roseus








Eurasian Teal

Anas crecca crecca









Anas platyrhynchos








Northern Pintail

Anas acuta








Northern Shoveler

Anas clypeata









Pandion haliaetus








Black Kite

Milvus migrans








Egyptian Vulture

Neophron percnopterus








Short-toed Eagle

Circaetus gallicus








Western Marsh Harrier

Circus aeruginosus








Eurasian Sparrowhawk

Accipiter nisus nisus








Greater Spotted Eagle

Aquila clanga








Common Kestrel

Falco tinnunculus








Barbary Falcon

Falco pelegrinoides








Chukar Partridge

Alectoris chukar








Sand Partridge

Ammoperdix heyi








Crab Plover

Dromas ardeola








Eurasian Oystercatcher

Haematopus ostralegus








Black-winged Stilt

Himantopus himantopus








Pied Avocet

Recurvirostra avosetta








Cream-coloured Courser

Cursorius cursor








Red-wattled Lapwing

Vanellus indicus








Sociable Lapwing

Vanellus gregarius








White-tailed Lapwing

Vanellus leucurus








Grey Plover

Pluvialis squatarola








Common Ringed Plover

Charadrius hiaticula








Kentish Plover

Charadrius alexandrinus








Lesser Sand Plover

Charadrius mongolus








Greater Sand Plover

Charadrius leschenaultii








Common Snipe

Gallinago gallinago








Bar-tailed Godwit

Limosa limosa









Numenius phaeopu








Eurasian Curlew

Numenius arquata








Spotted Redshank

Tringa erythropus








Common Redshank

Tringa totanus








Marsh Sandpiper

Tringa stagnatilis








Common Greenshank

Tringa nebularia








Wood Sandpiper

Tringa glareola








Terek Sandpiper

Xenus cinereus








Common Sandpiper 

Actitis hypoleucos








Ruddy Turnstone 

Arenaria interpres









Calidris alba








Little Stint

Calidris minuta








Temminck's Stint

Calidris temminckii








Curlew Sandpiper

Calidris ferruginea









Calidris alpina








Broad-billed Sandpiper

Limicola falcinellus









Philomachus pugnax








Arctic Skua

Stercorarius parasiticus








Sooty Gull

Larus hemprichii








Caspian Gull

Larus cachinnans








Steppe Gull

Larus barabensis








Heuglin’s Gull

Larus heuglini








Black-headed Gull 

Larus ridibundus








Slender-billed Gull 

Larus geneii








Caspian Tern

Sterna caspia








Lesser Crested Tern

Sterna bengalensis








Sandwich Tern

Sterna sandvicensis








Swift Tern

Sterna bergii








Common Tern

Sterna hirundo








Saunders' Tern

Sterna saundersi








White-cheeked Tern

Sterna repressa








Bridled Tern

Sterna anaethetus








Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse

Pterocles exustus








Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse

Pterocles lichtensteinii








Rock Dove (feral)

Columba livia








Eurasian Collared Dove

Streptopelia decaocto








Laughing Dove

Streptopelia senegalensis








Pallid Scops Owl

Otus brucei








Pharaoh Eagle-owl

Bubo ascalaphus








Common Swift

Apus apus








Pallid Swift

Apus pallidus








Collared Kingfisher 

Halcyon chloris








Common Kingfisher

Alcedo atthis








Little Green Bee-eater

Merops orientalis








Indian Roller

Coracias benghalensis








Eurasian Hoopoe

Upupa epops








Black-crowned Finch-lark

Eremopterix nigriceps








Bar-tailed Lark

Ammomanes cincturus








Desert Lark

Ammomanes deserti








Bimaculated Lark

Melanocorypha bimaculata








Crested Lark

Galerida cristata








Barn Swallow

Hirundo rustica








Pale Crag Martin

Ptyonoprogne obsoleta








Richard's Pipit

Anthus richardi








Tawny Pipit 

Anthus campestris








Meadow Pipit

Anthus pratensis








Olive-backed Pipit

Anthus hodgsoni








Water Pipit

Anthus spinoletta








White Wagtail  (alba & personata)

Motacilla alba








Yellow Wagtail

Motacilla flava








Citrine Wagtail

Motacilla citreola








Grey Wagtail

Motacilla cinerea








White-spectacled Bulbul

Pycnonotus xanthopygos








Blue Rock Thrush

Monticola solitarius









Luscinia svecica








Black Redstart 

Phoenicurus ochruros








Siberian Stonechat 

Saxicola maura








Hooded Wheatear

Oenanthe monacha








Hume's Wheatear

Oenanthe alboniger








Mourning Wheatear

Oenanthe lugens








Variable Wheatear

Oenanthe picata








Pied Wheatear

Oenanthe pleschanka








Persian Wheatear

Oenanthe chrysopygia








Desert Wheatear

Oenanthe deserti








Isabelline Wheatear

Oenanthe isabellina








Scrub Warbler

Scotocerca inquieta








Graceful Prinia

Prinia gracilis








Great Reed Warbler

Acrocephalus arundinaceus








Sykes's Warbler

Hippolais rama








Eastern Olivaceous Warbler

Hippolais pallida









Phylloscopus collybita








Siberian Chiffchaff

Phylloscopus tristis








Plain Leaf Warbler

Phylloscopus neglectus








Lesser Whitethroat

Sylvia curruca








Arabian Babbler

Turdoides squamiceps








Purple Sunbird

Cinnyris asiaticus








Isabelline Shrike

Lanius isabellinus








Southern Grey Shrike

Lanius meridionalis








Masked Shrike

Lanius nubicus








House Crow

Corvus splendens








Brown-necked Raven

Corvus ruficollis








House Sparrow

Passer domesticus








Indian Silverbill

Lonchura malabarica








Trumpeter Finch

Rhodopechys githaginea









Category C - introduced and established resident breeding species

Grey Francolin

Francolinus pondicerianus








Alexandrine Parakeet

Psittacula eupatria








Rose-ringed Parakeet

Psittacula krameri








White-eared Bulbul

Pycnonotus leucotis








Red-vented Bulbul

Pycnonotus cafer








Bank Myna

cridotheres ginginianus








Common Myna

Acridotheres tristis








Pied Myna 

Gracupica contra








Birding at dusk, Ain al Fayda © Fraser Simpson

 Birding Ain al Fayda at sunset




 All photographs © 2008  F. S. Simpson

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Al Jazeerah Khor (Crab Plover, Arabian Babbler, Terek Sandpiper, Swift Tern) Umm al Quwain (Socotra Cormorant, Purple Heron, Western Reed Egret, Lesser Sand Plover, Greater Sand Plover) Hamraniyah Fields (Red-wattled Lapwing, Gracefu Prinia, Purple Sunbird, White-spectacled Bulbul, Little Green Bee-eater, Tawny Pipit, Southern Grey Shrike) Khatt Fields (Pied Wheatear, Red-wattled Lapwing, Indian Roller,Little Green Bee-eater) Fukairah National Dairy Farm (Sociable Plover, White-tailed Plover, Siberian Stonechat, Indian Pond Heron, Greater Spotted Eagle, Richard's Pipit, Water Pipit, Isabelline Shrike) Mushrif Narional Park (Bruce's Scops Owl, Saw-scaled Viper) Safa Park (Olive-backed Pipit, Hoopoe, Red-wattled Lapwing, Siberian Chiffchaff, Grey Francolin, Ring-necked Parakeet, Common Mynah, Red-vented Bulbul, Purple Sunbird, House Crow, Grey Wagtail) Ras al Khor (Great Egret, Western Reef Egret, Little Stint, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Lesser Sand Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Kentish Plover, Terek Sandpiper, Caspian Tern, Little Green Bee-eater, Black-winged Stilt, Greater Flamingo, Red-wattled Lapwing) Khor Kalba (White-collared Kingfisher, Indian Pond Heron, Sykes's Warbler, Terek Sandpiper) Lahbab Fields (Southern Grey Shrike, Isabelline Shrikes, Little Green Bee-eater, Red-wattled Lapwing, Indian Roller, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler) Qarn Nazwa (Pharaoh Eagle Owl, Variable Wheatear) Ghantoot (Cream-coloured Courser, Tawny Pipit) Hatta Fort Hotel (Purple Sunbird, Indian Silverbill, Indian Roller, Pale Rock Martin, Hume's Wheatear) Hatta Dam (Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse, Short-toed Eagle, Brown-necked Raven, Hume's Wheatear, Persian Wheatear) Saif Restaurant (Black-crowned Finch-Lark, Marsh Harrier, Laughing Dove) Petrol stop (10 Nov) (Masked Wagtail, Sand Skink) Abu Dhabi Eastern Lagoon (Greater Spotted Eagle, White-tailed Lapwing, Citrine Wagtail, Water Pipit, Marsh Harrier) Al Wathba Camel Racetrack (Desert Wheatear, Isabelline Wheatear, Tawny Pipit, Trumpeter Finch, Yellow Wagtail, Marsh Harrier, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Bimaculated Lark) Gran Mercure Hotel (Plain Leaf Warbler, Eastern Black Redstart, Blue Rock Thrush, Pale Crag Martin) Ain al Fayda (Marsh Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Citrine Wagtail, Temminck's Stint, Kentish Plover) Al Ain Oasis (Little Green Bee-eater, Purple Sunbird, Graceful Prinia, Indian Silverbill, Chiffchaff, Lesser Whitethroat, Grey Francolin) Green Mubazzarah (Barbary Falcon, Sand Partridge, Plain Leaf Warbler, Hooded Wheatear, Bluethroat, Desert Lark, Indian Roller, Isabelline Shrike, Persian Wheatear, Hume's Wheatear, Little Green Bee-eater, Graceful Prinia, Tawny Pipit, Bluethroat, Pale Crag Martin, Purple Sunbird, Southern Grey Shrike) Jebel Hafeet (Egyptian Vulture, Hume's Wheatear, Desert Lark, Brown-necked Raven)