Monday, 10 January 2011

Mourning Wheatears at Jebel Dhanna 8.1.10

Happy New Year to you all,  this is my first blog of 2011 !

There had been recent reports of a small group of Eastern Mourning Wheatears in Jebel Dhanna which is about a 3 hour drive from Dubai.   They had been spotted in a facility owned by an oil company and so permission had to be sought for access.  Fortunately there are a number of birders who work there and permission seemed to be an easy process given that I was to be escorted by one of those birders !   So having decided that I would make an early start on Saturday morning I made an early night of it.   I had decided to get up at 4am (now I know I'm definitely mad) which for me is REALLY early - although some of the UAE birders will laugh at that as 'luxury' knowing they regulalrly travel to far flung places at even earlier hours than that !!

So still half asleep I set off for the long journey to JD.   After about an hour I had reached Abu Dhabi and I noticed that visibility was starting to reduce and all too soon I was in the middle of a 'pea-souper'  (english term for thick fog !).  It was patchy but nevertheless slowed me down somewhat - I eventually arrived at JD about 8:30am, and subsequently struggled to find my contact in the fog :-).   Eventually we found each other and made our way to the site where we sat it out for a couple of hours till the fog lifted,  the sun was shining but the humidity was intense.  Unfortunately I had missed the best light of the day but 'que sera sera'.   I saw at least 4 of them and possibly 5 or 6 but difficult to tell as they were moving around a lot.  There were no organic perches for the birds either so I had to make do with Stand Pipes and Fencing - not ideal.  I did manage a few shots though so I was relatively happy.   With a few shots in the bag it was now time to make my way back to Dubai - too tired to really make any more bird stops,  "wimp"  I hear you all shout !  Well I am knocking on a bit now :-)

Eastern Mourning Wheatear 4
Desert Wheatear 2
Isabelline Wheatear 2
Common Kestrel 3
Marsh Harrier 1
Skylark 50
Meadow pipit 2
Water pipit 4

Eastern Mourning Wheatear
(Oenanthe lugens)
Eastern Mourning Wheatear
(Oenanthe lugens)

Eastern Mourning Wheatear
(Oenanthe lugens)

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