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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Vultures at the DDCR 19.11.11

Reports from the Dubai Desert Conservation resort of 8-10 Lappet Face Vultures feeding on a Camel carcass earlier last week prompted the arranging of a mass gathering for Saturday morning at the reserve,  thanks to the generosity of the Reserve Wardens there.  We arrived at 09:45am and departed into the desert in 4x4 vehicles arounf 10:15am.  I opted not to drive this time , although I absolutely love driving the dunes,  I wanted to concentrate on my surroundings for a change rather than the next Sand dune to negotiate !!  We soon arrived at the carcass but no vultures in sight unfortunately.  Just a couple of Desert Wheatears and Desert Warblers.   We decided to hang around for a while - eventually a dot in the sky gradually came closer to revel itself as a lone Vulture,  never descending enough to get any decent pics I'm afraid.

Lappet-faced Vulture (Aegypius tracheliotos negevensis)

Eventually we moved on to see what else we could find in the reserve, these included a nice Yellow Spotted Agama sunning itself but not displaying the lovely Blue and Yellow colours unfortunately.   Not too many Sand or Arabian Gazelle spotted this time but there were many small herds of Arabian Oryx encountered.

Yellow Spotted Agama (Trapelus flavimaculatus)

Yellow Spotted Agama (Trapelus flavimaculatus)

Arabian Oryx (Oryx leucoryx)

Arabian Oryx (Oryx leucoryx)

The highlight for me was to be the sighting of a fabulous Pharoah Eagle Owl.  This was found amongst a small oasis of Ghaf trees.  Apparantly there are several now known to be in the reserve with at least one pair known to have bred this year.

Pharaoh Eagle-Owl (Bubo ascalaphus)

On a final note, our friendly Warden told us of sightings of some Houbara Bustard which were part of a large number released into the wild over the last year or two.  They were (and continue to be) hunted close to extinction in the UAE.  Although only released birds, I was still very keen to see them (if we could find them).  We eventually found three birds sheltering behind small scrub,  my first ever sighting of this bird.  I was very pleased indeed.

Houbara Bustard (Chlamydotis undulata)

Houbara Bustard (Chlamydotis undulata)

Houbara Bustard (Chlamydotis undulata)

A fabulous 4 hours in the reserve,  enjoyed thoroughly !


1 comment:

  1. Wow this Houbara Bustard is such a wonderfull bird :) Great shot's ;)

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