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Saturday, April 23, 2011

UAE East Coast Pelagic 22.04.11

Went off on a local Pelagic with many of the UAE birders yesterday !  Weather was perfect,  with a lovely breeze on the boat.  Probably the largest numbers of Sooty Gull I have seen over there easily in excees of 300 I would guess.  There were many flocks of Persian Shearwater 200+.   I saw 3 Arctic Skua, only one close enough to photograph though and unfortunately into the sun,  but fab to see it up so close.  Highlight for me was my first Flesh-footed Shearwater,  very distant but certainly distinguishable. The only downside was a stranded Socotra Cormorant that was attached by the foot to some fishing line which had got caught on a Harbour Buoy and could not free itself.   Fortunately shrap knife at hand allowed one of the team to cut the line and allow it to swim away. You can see a picture of this below.   All in all a nice afternoon out ! :-)


     Arctic Skua
 (Stercorarius parasiticus)  

  Arctic Skua
 (Stercorarius parasiticus)  

Persian Shearwater
(Puffinus persicus) 


Persian Shearwater
(Puffinus persicus) 

Persian Shearwater
(Puffinus persicus) 

Socotra Cormorant
(Phalacrocorax nigrogularis)

 Flesh-footed Shearwater
(Puffinus carneipes)


 Flesh-footed Shearwater
(Puffinus carneipes)   


Persian Shearwater
(Puffinus persicus) 

Socotra Cormorant
(Phalacrocorax nigrogularis)

 Socotra Cormorant 
(Phalacrocorax nigrogularis)

Socotra Cormorant
(Phalacrocorax nigrogularis)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Migrants in the UAE 16.04.11

Migration had been a little slow recently until last weekend when reports started to come in of several migrants around the place. Probably the best of the bunch was a Long-tailed Shrike, only the 7th UAE record. This was found in Mamzar park, Dubai. Also reported  were  several Barred Warblers, White-throated Robin and larger numbers of Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin.  The day before I had spent one day in Green Mubazzara where there were several Upcher's Warblers and Rufous Scrub Robin. Also had the pleasure to see that Barbary Falcons had been breeding in the back Wadi where I saw one of the juveniles catch a pigeon and fly back to the roost, followed closely by one of the Adults.  No pics unfortunately as I was not prepared :-( Some pics from the weekend.


Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin
(Cercotrichas galactotes )

 Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin
(Cercotrichas galactotes )


Hooded Wheatear female
(Oenanthe monacha )


Upcher's Warbler
(Hippolais languida )

Sinai Agama
(Agama sinaita)
Long-tailed Shrike
(Lanius schach)


Common Redstart
(Phoenicurus phoenicurus)
 White-throated Robin
(Irania gutturalis )
  White-throated Robin
(Irania gutturalis )
 White-throated Robin
(Irania gutturalis )


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wamm Dairy Farms - Fujairah, UAE 09.04.11

Thought I would just post a small blog on my visit to Fujairah last Saturday.  Access has now been given to the Farms once again , first time since last September.  So as there had been reports of a large number of Lesser Kestrels passing through with numbers as high as 28 I thought I would give it a shot. 
Before entering the farms I had a run around the Goat Farm nearby where there is scrub and Acacia.  3 Upcher's Warbler were found with one staying paticularly faithful to one tree allowing very good views.  Also seen were a number of Isabelline Wheatear, Turkestan Shrike and Southern Grey Shrike. So now it was over  to the Farm entrance.

With the formalities completed I started to wander the fields with my mate Mark,  it was hot but there was a nice breeze to keep us relatively cool,  but this will only get worse as the summer gets closer.   I almost stepped on a Quail (my first) which decided the better option was to fly away as quickly as possible.   A number of Richard's pipits were also flushed and subsequently scrutinised for Blythe's charateristics.   Many Indian Rollers frequent the standpipes in the fields and numbers always go well into double figures.  I was pleased to see that there still remained at least 5 Lesser Kestrels , 3 males and 2 femals.  The Females proved extremely approchable,  this could not be said for the males who took to the air before I could ever get close to them.  Still we got plenty of time to watch the birds as they hunted and interacted with each other.  Even watching them eat their catches on the wing !   I really enjoyed the experience of sharing an afternoon with these birds especially one female who was happy to allow me come as close as 3 metres,  allowing me a full frame (portrait) using my 500mm,  not something that happens very often !

Birds seen :


Common Quail (Coturnix coturnix) 1
Little Egret  (Egretta garzetta ) 2
Western Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis ibis) 30
Eurasian Marsh Harrier  (Circus aeruginosus) 1
Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus) 1
Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni) 5
Eurasian Kestrel ] (Falco tinnunculus]) 1
Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago gallinago) 1
Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse  (Pterocles exustus) 8
Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri) 15
European Bee-Eater (Merops apiaster) 5
Indian Roller  (Coracias benghalensis) 20
Turkestan Shrike (Lanius isabellinus phoenicuroides) 8
Daurian Shrike (Lanius isabellinus isabellinus) 1
Southern Grey Shrike (Lanius meridionalis) 3
Upcher's Warbler (Hippolais languida) 3
Common Grasshopper Warbler  (Locustella naevia) 1
Richard's Pipit (Anthus richardi) 3







 Isabelline Wheatear
(Oenanthe isabellina)
 Upcher's Warbler
(Hippolais languida)
 Upcher's Warbler
(Hippolais languida)
 Upcher's Warbler
(Hippolais languida)
 Lesser Kestrel
(Falco naumanni)
 Lesser Kestrel
(Falco naumanni)
 Lesser Kestrel
(Falco naumanni)

Turkestan Shrike
(Lanius isabellinus phoenicuroides)
  Lesser Kestrel
(Falco naumanni)
 Lesser Kestrel
(Falco naumanni)


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Kerala, India February 2011 (06.03.11) Day 3

So Day 3 was another day in Thattekad.  I had a much better night's sleep and as promised there was no temple music!.  Hornbill Camp is a wonderful place in the morning,  with birdsong and beautiful views.
The staff at the camp are all from the local communities and earn an income from the running of the camp. They source all the camp requirements from the local village.




So after a lovely breakfast it was off with Shibu and Jijo once again for our visits to sites around Thattekad National Park.


Species seen today :


Black BazaMalabar Grey HornbillVernal Hanging Parrot
Malabar TrogonBlack-headed BulbulFlame Minivet
White-bellied TreepieRiver TernOrange-headed Thrush
Crested Honey BuzzardCommon FlamebackCommon Hawk-cuckoo
Stork-billed KingfisherGreenish WarblerEurasian Golden Oriole
Large-billed CrowGreen-winged Emerald DoveRufous Babbler
Brahminy KiteHeart-spotted WoodpeckerAsian Drongo-cuckoo
Blue-bearded Bee-eaterGreat Reed WarblerBlack-naped Oriole
Dusky Crag MartinPompadour Green PigeonCrimson-backed Sunbird
Common KestrelLarge WoodshrikeWhite-rumped Spinetail
DollarbirdAsian Brown FlycatcherBlack-hooded Oriole
Velvet-fronted NuthatchPlum-headed ParakeetLittle Spiderhunter
Whiskered TernScarlet MinivetBlack-naped Monarch

Blue-throated Flycatcher



Stork-billed Kingfisher
(Pelargopsis capensis)
Malabar Grey Hornbill
(Ocyceros griseus)
Little Cormorant
(Phalacrocorax niger)


Green-winged Emerald Dove
(Chalcophaps indica)

Orange-headed Thrush
(Zoothera citrina cyanotus)
Scarlet Minivet - Female
(Pericrocotus flammeus)

Oriental Darter
(Anhinga melanogaster)
Greater Coucal
(Centropus sinensis)
Common Flameback
(Dinopium javanense)