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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Weavers in Abu Dhabi 18.06.11

Golden-Backed Weaver is now accepted by the EBRC (Emirates Bird Recording Committe) so I thought I would go check them out.  A friend of mine knew a site in Abu Dhabi where he knew they were nesting.

So thought as this would be a relatively easy twitch I would take the "other half" with me and we could have lunch with my friend and his wife whilst in Abu Dhabi.  Left Dubai about 9:30am and arrived at the location in Abu Dhabi about 11:00am.  Took a little while to spot the first weavers even though there were several nests in several trees.  Eventually the first female weaver was spotted of the Village Weaver species,  not yet accepted by EBRC unfortunately.  Then a couple of male Golden-backed weavers were seen nest building on an obviously new nest as it was still green, whereas a male Village Weaver was busy on what looked like an old nest one of which fell to the ground in the strong wind we had that morning.  Shots were quite distant I'm afraid so what you see are heavily cropped.


 Golden-backed Weaver (Ploceus jacksoni)


Golden-backed Weaver (Ploceus jacksoni)

Village Weaver (Ploceus cucullatus)

Village Weaver (Ploceus cucullatus)

Village Weaver (Ploceus cucullatus)







Monday, June 20, 2011

Gulf Pelagic 17.06.11

Quiet Pelagic today, weather very hot and humid. Usual suspects :

Persian Shearwater c100
Wilson's Storm Petrel 6
Red-necked Phalarope 20
Sooty Gull 15
Bridled tern 120
Common Tern 50
White-cheeked Tern 1
Little Tern 5
White-winged Tern 1
Arctic skua 2

The White-winged Tern was unusual to see out at sea.

We followed the Wilson's Petrels on a couple of occasions, was really beautiful watching them hover and skip on the water, quite amazing really.

 Wilson's Storm Petrel, (Oceanites oceanicus)

Wilson's Storm Petrel, (Oceanites oceanicus)

White-winged Tern , (Chlidonias leucopterus)
Sooty Gull (Ichthyaetus hemprichii)


Sunset over Kalba and the Hajar Mountains at the end of the Pelagic.



Sunday, June 12, 2011

Gulf Pelagic 10.06.11

It's very much still Pelagic season here in the UAE. There had been a storm heading for Oman which we thought might bring us a few more birds, however it changed direction and headed off for Pakistan. Nevertheless we set off at 3pm for a 4 hour Pelagic ranging from the Omani Border up to and beyond Fujeirah. The sea was pretty rough to start with but had settled a little by the time we were half way through. Birds were difficult to find and a lot of time was spent searching the seas. Small groups of Persian Shearwater , Bridled Terns and Common Terns were seen here and there but nothing much out of the ordinary. Eventually about 2 hours we came across a large group of mixed terns in a feeding frenzy when suddenly one of the team calls out "Sooty Tern". Took me a little while to find it but eventually locked on. It flew from one group to the next and was quite distinguishable from the other Terns, wing span being quite noticeable. The tern was identified as 2nd year individual. I believe only the 7th Record for the UAE. Unfortunately my photography was off form today, we have all had those days right ? So not the best shots I'm afraid. Once the excitement was over and the tern had left the area we then continued scouring the seas. Just as it was starting to go dark and we were returning to the Harbour we fortunately (for me) came across two Wilson's Storm Petrel, firsts for me as was the Sooty tern. It was too dark to get any decent shots I'm afraid, but still went home with two new birds for my UAE list.

Feeding Terns, Bridled and Common

Common Tern, Sterna hirundo

 Common Tern, Sterna hirundo

Sooty Tern, Onychoprion fuscatus

 Sooty Tern, Onychoprion fuscatus

 Sooty Tern, Onychoprion fuscatus

 Sooty Tern, Onychoprion fuscatus


Sooty Tern, Onychoprion fuscatus

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Abu Dhabi Islands - Breeding Terns 04.06.11

I was fortunate enough to be invited on a morning sail out to some of the islands close to Abu Dhabi in the UAE, including Futaisi.   Some of the islands hold breeding colonies of White-cheeked, Saunders's and Bridled Terns.  It was a chance to see these birds in Breeding Plumages.  Obviously these birds become very agitated when you approach their nest sites so we were very conscious of limiting our time to just a few minutes in these areas so that the eggs did not over heat in the very hight temperatures.  Numbers of breeding pairs did appear to be up on last year,  one of the reasons may well be the eradication of crows from the area,  only a couple being seen during the whole trip.  I was told there had some culling activities during the year.  Another highlight of the area is nesting Ospreys with several nests sighted.  We say 4 pairs of Ospreys,  beautiful birds !

Other birds seen :

Lesser Crested Tern,
Caspian Tern,
Gull Billed Tern
Sooty Gull (very unusual to see this side of the UAE)
Crab Plover
Bar-tailed Godwit
Redshank
Sand Plover
Terek Sandpiper
Turnstone
Socotra Cormorant

Osprey, Pandion haliaetus

Osprey, Pandion haliaetus

Osprey, Pandion haliaetus

Osprey, Pandion haliaetus

Osprey, Pandion haliaetus
This is me working on the Osprey pics above !


Osprey, Pandion haliaetus - Nest on a hut


Osprey, Pandion haliaetus -
Keeping up with the Jones'
The large nest has been here for many years

White-Cheeked Tern, Sterna repressa

White-Cheeked Tern, Sterna repressa

 White-Cheeked Tern, Sterna repressa


White-Cheeked Tern, Sterna repressa

 Saunders's Tern, Sternula saundersi

 Saunders's Tern, Sternula saundersi 

Saunders's Tern, Sternula saundersi 

Bridled Tern, Onychoprion anaethetus

 Common Redshank, Tringa totanus

Western Reef Egret. Egretta gularis

Bridled Tern, Onychoprion anaethetus