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Saturday, November 27, 2010

India Nov 2010 Part 1

Not strictly UAE birding I know but thought I'd share some comments and pictures from my trip to Rajasthan recently.  Although I have lived in the UAE for 6 years it was my first trip to India (I know - pathetic !).  As I wanted to go with my wife we put an itinery together that had a mix of birding and sightseeing.   Our initial port of entry was Delhi from where we quickly left to Bharatpur.  This was once one of the Top Birding sites in the world,  however over recent years the water levels have dramatically reduced and the number of birds recorded there have diminished significantly.   The Keoladeo Ghana National Park was once famous for the Siberian Crane, sadly these have not been reported for several years now.   Adding to this was the issue of reported sightings of a Tiger in the Park,  this had the negative effect of restricting large areas of the park to the Public.   However I had only 3 days there and so left us with plenty of birds to go after.   I hired a guide and a couple of Rickshaws for the 3 days,  the guys were execllent and looked after us well !!    I have included the cycle licence plates of the Rickshaw drivers for your reference, should you ever be out that way.  Soran Singh was my guide and we stayed at the famous Birder's Inn ,  Bharatpur.   Cheap and friendly - enjoyed our stay very much.

Some pics from Keoladeo Ghana National Park :


 Painted Stork
(Mycteria leucocephala)
Darter
(Anhinga melanogaster)

 Painted Stork
(Mycteria leucocephala)
Sarus Crane
(Grus antigone)

 White-Throated Kingfisher
(Halcyon smyrnensis)
 Pied Buschat
(Saxicola caprata)
 Painted Stork
(Mycteria leucocephala)
 Dusky Eagle Owl
(Bubo coromandus)
 Spotted Owlet
(Athene brama)
 Long-Tailed Shrike
(Lanius schach)
 Black-Rumped Flameback
(Dinopium benghalense)

 Eurasian Spoonbill
(Platalea leucorodia)
Asian Openbill
(Anastomus oscitans )

Finally in this Part here is the information on the Rickshaw riders and Guide that I used :








Tuesday, November 9, 2010

MEGA at the Pivot Fields 8.10.11

7th November 2010 was an exciting day for the UAE. It's very first record of a Buff-Breasted Sandpiper ! I heard about it in the evening of the 7th and along with many others made my plans to be there at first light. I arrived at the site at approx 6:30am and met up with four other Birders, Clive, Neil , Mark and Andrew. We feared the worst when it seemed that the bird was not around but I knew I was with several very experienced birders and that if it was here it would be found !! At approx 7:15am it flew in and was quickly spotted by Neil. The scopes were set up and good views were achieved. By now I was getting an itchy trigger finger but I did not want to risk flushing the bird whilst people were yet to get there views. But work was calling all of us and one by one everyone left until I was left on my own. So out came the trusty Canon 7D and 500mm and off I went.  Here are some of the results.

Buff-Breasted Sandpiper
(Tryngites subruficollis )



Buff-Breasted Sandpiper
(Tryngites subruficollis )
Buff-Breasted Sandpiper
(Tryngites subruficollis )

Buff-Breasted Sandpiper
(Tryngites subruficollis )

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Ajban Video 5.11.10

Just uploaded some video from yesterdays trip to Ajban.  I have included the Stonechat and Pied Wheatear.
If you look at the first video carefully - you will see one very brave, lucky ant ! :-)






Friday, November 5, 2010

Ajban, UAE 5.11.10

Wanted to spend some time at Ajban to photograph Wheatears.  I located a pair of Pied Wheatears near a pool , I could see that they didn't move to far from their current location so decided to park the Pajaero cover the window and wait.   I spent a good 90 minutes photographing the pair in various positions and lighting.   A couple of examples attached.  Unfortunately the male was only a 1st Year so not in the typical plumage of an adult Pied Wheatear, but still made a lovely subject.   An added bonus was a lovely Stonechat,  I  cannot usually distinguish Common from Siberian (we get both) so will leave it as Stonechat :-)

Pied Wheatear 2
Isabelline Wheatear 1
Black-Winged Stilt 30
Ruff 30
Common Sandpiper 2
Wood Sandpiper 1
Little-Green Bee-Eater 3
Crested Lark 20
Little Stint 3
Stonechat
(Saxicola torquatus)


Pied Wheatear
(Oenanthe pleschanka)


Pied Wheatear
(Oenanthe pleschanka)
 

Pied Wheatear
(Oenanthe pleschanka)

Pied Wheatear
(Oenanthe pleschanka)
 

Pied Wheatear
(Oenanthe pleschanka)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve 30.10.10

I was kindly invited onto the reserve last Saturday to look for Long-legged Buzzard that had been regularly seen near watering holes in the reserve.  Having arrived early in the morning I actually saw one sat on a Sand Dune in the distance before I had even entered the gate - a very nice quick result !   This was added to with a lovely Desert Warbler and Menetrie's Warbler, unfortunately the pictures are not worthy of my Blog :-)   However a shot of a Desert Warbler inside the reserve has been added (as it's not too bad !).   We drove around the dunes for a little while (testing my sand driving skills to the max !) and eventually found an area with many Ghaf trees,  two Buzzards were being harrased by a Desert Eagle Owl but the tables were soon turned as the Owl was forced to dive for cover at the base of a tree.   All too distant I'm afraid for any decent pics.
One of the Rangers received a call to say 4 Lappet-Faced Vultures (lifer for me !) had been seen at another watering hole about a 30 minute drive away.  What I hadn't realised was that the estimation of 30 minutes was at break-neck speed. Unfortunately however the birds had left by the time we got there,  all that remained were 2 birds soaring at high altitude - Oh well,  always next time :-)  I have to say though the drive was the most exciting part of the day driving at 40-50km/hr over Sand (my very own roller-coaster) and was a real adrenalin rush !  I am proud to say that during the 4 hours in the desert I did not get stuck once unlike last time (twice !)  There is always plenty to see and photograph in the reserve and I enjoy this place very much.  I have added some pics of the various wildlife encountered during the drive.

Thanks again to DDCR and the guys (you know who you are!)

 Young Male Sand Gazelle
(Gazella subgutturosa marica)
 Arabian Oryx
(Oryx leucoryx)
 Asian Desert Warbler
(Sylvia nana )
 Yellow Spotted Agama 
(Trapelus flavimaculatus)

 Arabian Gazelle
(Gazella arabica)
 Arabian Gazelle
(Gazella arabica)
 Arabian Gazelle
(Gazella arabica)
Desert Monitor Lizard
(Varanus griseus)