Birding/ Bird watching in United Arab Emirates

Birding/ Bird watching in United Arab Emirates

Saturday 1st of December 2018 and my alarm went off at 3 thirty and I had my tea and some burgers that we had bought yesterday for breakfast. We were hungry going back home yesterday and we kept our eyes out for a service station with a bakery. But we only found a hamburger place and we had our “dinner” there.

I finished my tea and hamburgers and I went down to the reception at 6 thirty and my Guide arrived after a few minutes and we were soon on our way. But before getting in to the car I popped open a Diet Pepsi. I had a bag with Diet Pepsi in the car that I had bought yesterday.

Radisson Blu Dubai Waterfront
Waiting for my guide at the hotel entrance

Radisson Blu Dubai Waterfront
Waiting for my guide at the hotel entrance

We will drive to Al Ain to visit Jebel Hafeet and we will stop at Al Jimi oasis in Al Ain to look for a Scop Owl that had been reported to be there. We're soon having Dubai in the rear-view mirror heading towards Abu Dhabi. It take us about 90 minutes to reach Al Ain.

Jebel Hafeet

Jabal Hafeet (Arabic: جَـبَـل حَـفِـيـت‎, translit. Jabal Ḥafīt, "Mount Hafeet"; variously transcribed Jabal, Jabel or Jebal and Hafit or Hafeet – literally "empty mountain") is a mountain in the environs of the city of Al Ain in Eastern Arabia. Al-Ain is in the Eastern Region of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, on the United Arab Emirates' eastern border with Oman.

Like Al Hajar Mountains, it is shared between the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

The mountain has given its name to a period in UAE history, the Bronze Age (3200 to 2600 BCE) Hafit Period, because of the discovery of a cluster of important Bronze Age beehive tombs at its foothills.

Flora and fauna

A captive Arabian leopard at a nearby zoo. Wild leopards had been seen in this area in the 20th century. The mountain is home to endangered species.

On the mountain has been observed the yellow bloom of Acridocarpus orientalis. Numerous other plants have been seen around caves in the mountain.

The caves of Jebel Hafeet are a natural habitat for a wide range of animals, including bats, foxes, snakes, rodents, and hyraxes. The lizard Acanthodactylus opheodurus, which until 1982 was considered extinct in the UAE, has been observed in the area. Among the birds, there is the greatest biodiversity of the whole country: a study counted 119 species of birds.

Finally, they have been cataloged, with about 200 different insects, and 23 species of butterflies. Recently, seven species of lacewing insects were discovered here. They were previously thought not to have been in this country, but in Saudi Arabia. The Arabian tahr is also found here.

In 1949, an Arabian leopard was spotted here by Wilfred Thesiger. In 1976, one was shot and wounded, as reported by Hellyer, who claimed another sighting in 1993.

The leopard is now possibly extinct in the country's wilderness. In addition, rock hyrax were recently introduced here, and could serve as prey for the leopard, if the latter had to be re-introduced.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

We step out of the car around 8 o'clock in the morning and we walk in to the Al Jimi oasis and we pass the Bin Hamoodah Fort. There is a big tree in front of the Bin Hamoodah Fort and there are several birds in the tree.

We turn left and we're soon at an open area and we have a look in the trees where the Pallid Scops Owl have been reported by the UAE Birding man we met at the Warsan Lake yesterday. We searched the area but we had no luck with the Pallid Scops Owl.

Al Jimi oasis
Al Jimi oasis

Al Jimi oasis
House Sparrow

Listen to the House Sparrow

Remarks from the Recordist

Recorded with my ZOOM H5 Handy Recorder. High Pass Filter applied in Audacity

In Al Jimi oasis to look for the Pallid Scops Owl, but the owl is not there, but there is a nice sounding House Sparrow in the tree


www.xeno-canto.org


Al Jimi oasis
Rose-ringed Parakeet

Al Jimi oasis


Al Jimi oasis has been farmed for centuries and, in addition to thousands of date palms, the visitor will find large native trees such as the sidr (Zizyphus spinachristi) and ghaf (Prosopis cineraria) and plants cultivated for their medicinal properties.

The restoration of over a dozen buildings within the oasis provides an insight into the agricultural and administrative importance of this area from the early 18th century onwards.

From http://wikimapia.org

I run around try to get a recording of the White-eared Bulbul but there was too much other birds singing so I never managed to get any recording. I tried to get pictures of the Grey Francolin, but in vain. We walked back to the car and we passed a few noisy Rose-ringed Parakeets and I spotted a Hoopoe flying by.

I ask my Guide if he is going to have a smoke. I tell him hat I will go look for birds and when he is ready he can come after me. I discover the Hoopoe and when my Guide is coming I give him the internationally recognized sign for “Easy, as quiet as possible, I make a video of a Hoopoe”

Hoopoe, फाप्रे चरा, Upupa epops

Hoopoe, फाप्रे चरा, Upupa epops
Hoopoe

Hoopoe, फाप्रे चरा, Upupa epops
Hoopoe

Hoopoe

We leave Al Jimi oasis and we had been disappointed with the missing Pallid Scops Owl. Never mind, as I told my Guide:
- We cannot finish all the birds today, what will we then do for the rest of our life?

But the Al Jimi oasis was a beautiful place and it is a recommended stop if you ever pass through Al Ain. Below is my Guide's eBird checklist from the Al Jimi oasis.

eBird Checklist Al Jimi oasis, Al Ain
eBird Checklist Al Jimi oasis, Al Ain

We were approaching the Jebel Hafeet and we will drive for as long as we can, close to the border to Oman on top of the mountain. I don't know what I had expected, but the road going up the mountain gave us a fantastic view and even though it is just desert it was gorgeous.

We stopped at a rest place to have a look and I was lucky to spot the Desert Lark. As I am in the Arab Emirates I want to see all the birds with the name “Desert” and the Arabian Babbler.

Bird watching/ Birding at Jebel Hafeet in Abu Dhabi, UAE
Entering the road up the Jebel Hafeet

Bird watching/ Birding at Jebel Hafeet in Abu Dhabi, UAE
Driving up the Jebel Hafeet

Bird watching/ Birding at Jebel Hafeet in Abu Dhabi, UAE
Looking out from the first stop

Desert Lark, Ammomanes deserti

Desert Lark, Ammomanes deserti
Desert Lark

Bird watching/ Birding at Jebel Hafeet in Abu Dhabi, UAE
We continue towards the top

Bird watching/ Birding at Jebel Hafeet in Abu Dhabi, UAE
We continue towards the top

Bird watching/ Birding at Jebel Hafeet in Abu Dhabi, UAE
We continue towards the top

Bird watching/ Birding at Jebel Hafeet in Abu Dhabi, UAE
The road coming up the Jebel Hafeet

Bird watching/ Birding at Jebel Hafeet in Abu Dhabi, UAE
We stop to look at the Egyptian Vultures

Bird watching/ Birding at Jebel Hafeet in Abu Dhabi, UAE
Motorcycles coming up the mountain

Bird watching/ Birding at Jebel Hafeet in Abu Dhabi, UAE
The road coming up the Jebel Hafeet

We stop at the top, well, 2 more stops before the end, but pretty much as high up you can come on Jebel Hafeet. We had a group of Egyptian Vultures flying above and below the rest place. The vultures was gone even before we got out of the car. But we did our best to take some pictures before we continued.

But it was a beautiful view and we spend some time enjoying the sights. There was a Desert Wheatear sitting on top of one of the lamp posts. We continue and we make the last stop before reaching the end of the road at the border to Oman. We see more Egyptian Vultures and a couple of Brown-necked Ravens.

We continue and we just stop to have a look at the desert before we leave again. We decided to stop at Mercury Hotel for lunch before going down the Jebel Hafeet again.

Egyptian Vulture, Neophron percnopterus

Egyptian Vulture, Neophron percnopterus
Egyptian Vulture

Bird watching/ Birding at Jebel Hafeet in Abu Dhabi, UAE
Brown-necked Raven

Bird watching/ Birding at Jebel Hafeet in Abu Dhabi, UAE
We reach the end of the road

Bird watching/ Birding at Jebel Hafeet in Abu Dhabi, UAE
The desert form Jebel Hafeet

The parking in front of the Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet Al Ain Hotel is surrounded bushes and lawns and there is quite a few birds to be seen. So walking around there before lunch gave me a picture of a White-eared Bulbul.

Lunch break from the bird watching and there is an outdoor restaurant with a view over the desert. Enter the hotel and take the elevator down a level or two. Walk past the swimming pool and you reach the restaurant. The food is OK and they have Earl Grey tea in pots, well, it is not any big pots. But it is OK.

White-eared Bulbul, Pycnonotus leucotis, White-cheeked Bulbul
White-eared Bulbul

Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet Al Ain Hotel
Lunch at Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet Al Ain Hotel

Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet Al Ain Hotel
Lunch at Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet Al Ain Hotel

Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet Al Ain Hotel
A cat begging for food at Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet Al Ain Hotel

Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet Al Ain Hotel
View from the restaurant

Chukar Partridge, Chukar, Chukor, Alectoris chukar

Chukar Partridge, Chukar, Chukor, Alectoris chukar
Chukar Partridge

Chukar Partridge, Chukar, Chukor, Alectoris chukar
Chukar Partridge

Back at the car park and I spotted a group of Chukar Partridges in the park like area around the car park. We get in to the car and we leave Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet Al Ain Hotel behind and we drive down the Jebel Hafeet. We have had a gorgeous couple of hours on Jebel Hafeet.

Below is my Guide's eBird checklist from Jebel Hafeet.

eBird Checklist Jebel Hafeet, Abu Dhabi, UAE
eBird Checklist Jebel Hafeet, Abu Dhabi

We drive down Jebel Hafeet to go explore the Ain al-Fayda, a desert area Wast of the Jebel Hafeet Mountain. We pass the Green Mubazzarah, a park but we decide to skip the place. I wanted to see the desert and the park is most likely full because of the national day.

We park the car in an, well, it looks like a construction site and we can heard the Clamorous Reed Warbler from the reeds and I was lucky to be able to spot the bird.

Clamorous Reed Warbler, Acrocephalus stentoreus

Clamorous Reed Warbler, Acrocephalus stentoreus
Clamorous Reed Warbler

We walk in to an abandoned resort area with half sunken paddle boats in a canal/ lake. No birds, except for a few Grey Francolins that run for cover in the bushes when they spot us.

I turn on my ZOOM H5 Handy Recorder. I walk towards the bushes and the Grey Francolins only have one way to leave, towards me.

I know that I won't get any picture, but I might get lucky and get the very nice wing flap sound when they take off. The first bird leave early, but I get the rattling sound from the bushes and the wing flaps when the last two birds take off.

Listen to the Grey Francolin

Remarks from the Recordist

Recorded with my ZOOM H5 Handy Recorder High pass filter applied in Audacity

I have tried for a long time to get a picture of the Grey Francolin but they are very scared. I see 3 birds and when the sense my presence they hide in the bushes. I walk slowly towards the bush trying to get a picture.

We can hear in the recording how I approach and then rattling noises from the bushes and the wing flaps when the bird take off leaving me behind without any picture.


www.xeno-canto.org

We continue our walk and we walk in a circle and when we're approaching our car I see the White-eared Bulbul and the bird is singing so I give it a try with my OOM H5 Handy Recorder. And the recording is kind of OK so I discarded my recordings from Al Jimi oasis earlier this morning.

Listen to the White-eared Bulbul

Remarks from the Recordist

Recording with my ZOOM H5 Handy Recorder High Pass Filter in Audacity applied

Sneaking up on the bird sitting in the bushes singing or calling. Another bird a few bushes away seemed to be answering the call.


www.xeno-canto.org

We leave the area and we work our way out in to the desert to look for more birds and adventures. Even though I had been to Djibouti I loved every minute of our desert adventure. I really enjoyed the landscape. I manage to get a picture of the Grey Francolin, this bird is very scared and I have failed every time as the bird disappears.

But this bird stayed for a few seconds and I got a picture, not any good picture but it was OK enough for me to be able to put the bird on my list of observed birds.

Grey Francolin, Francolinus pondicerianus

Bird watching at Ain al-Fayda, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Ain al-Fayda

Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet Al Ain Hotel
Ain al-Fayda

Bird watching at Ain al-Fayda, Abu Dhabi, UAE
In Ain al-Fayda and we can see Jebel Hafeet

Female Desert Wheatear
Female Desert Wheatear

Female Desert Wheatear
Not very lucky with the pictures of the Female Desert Wheatear

Great Grey Shrike, Lanius excubitor, Varfågel
Great Grey Shrike / Varfågel

We have one of the Asian Desert Warblers landing in a bush in front of us. I was very unlucky with those pictures, but I will use it for my list of observed birds as the bird have the “desert” in the name. I have now seen all the birds with the name “desert”, all three (Only two of them) of them, at least I think it is only three:
Desert Wheatear
Desert Lark
• Asian Desert Warbler Turned out to be a female Desert Wheatear


Thanks to P.Sunesen at Birdforum for correcting the identity for the female Desert Wheatear.

Forum thread HERE


Birdforum



Now I only miss the Arabian Babbler, if we manage to see this bird I will be very happy with my list of observed birds when I leave the Middle East.

We see a Great Grey Shrike and I ask my Guide to stop behind a bush. I will try to sneak up on the bird to see if I can get close for some good pictures. I got out of the car and I approached the Great Grey Shrike “commando” style.

My Guide must have been in chock, and everyone else seeing 2 ton bird watcher sneaking up on the bird. I think the bird might have been chocked as well because I could sneak up all the way to the bird. Less than 2 meter from the bird and the bird started to sing.

I felt my belt for my ZOOM H5 Handy Recorder, DARN! H have it in the car. My phone, DARN! In the car as well. I went back to the car to pick up my gear but the bird was gone when I came back. DARN! Now I thought about my video camera I had have in my belt all the time. I could have made a video. Well, at least I was very happy with the pictures when we left.

Great Grey Shrike, Lanius excubitor, Varfågel
Great Grey Shrike / Varfågel

Great Grey Shrike, Lanius excubitor, Varfågel
Great Grey Shrike / Varfågel

Great Grey Shrike, Lanius excubitor, Varfågel
Great Grey Shrike / Varfågel

Great Grey Shrike, Lanius excubitor, Varfågel
Great Grey Shrike / Varfågel

Great Grey Shrike, Lanius excubitor, Varfågel
Great Grey Shrike / Varfågel

Great Grey Shrike, Lanius excubitor, Varfågel
Great Grey Shrike / Varfågel

Great Grey Shrike, Lanius excubitor, Varfågel
Great Grey Shrike / Varfågel

We leave the Great Grey Shrike behind and we´re soon at some kind of pond/ lake. We stop and we get out of the car to go check out the area. We see Marsh Harriers and some small birds that are too far away for any pictures. But going back to the car we hear a Clamorous Reed Warbler in the reeds. I make a recording, but I never get to see the bird.

Well, it is almost 5 o´clock and not much time left before dark so I suggested that we should get back to Dubai. It had been a long and very nice day.

Listen to the Clamorous Reed Warbler

Remarks from the Recordist

Recorded with my ZOOM H5 Handy recorder. High Pass Filter in Audacity applied

Going back to the car after having been looking for birds along the water I hear the Clamorous Reed Warbler in the reeds. Spending 15 to 20 minutes to try to get a picture of the bird. But I have no luck and the bird stays in the reed


www.xeno-canto.org

Bird watching at Ain al-Fayda, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Time to leave Ain al-Fayda to get back to Radisson Blu Dubai Waterfront

Bird watching at Ain al-Fayda, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Leaving Ain al-Fayda and we can see the Mercure
Grand Jebel Hafeet Al Ain Hotel on top of Jebel Hafeet

Bird watching at Ain al-Fayda, Abu Dhabi, UAE
We see another Great Grey Shrike but the
bird is gone before I can get out of the car

eBird Checklist Ain al-Fayda, Abu Dhabi, UAE
eBird Checklist Al Jimi oasis, Al Ain

eBird Checklist flooded area back Ain Al Fayda, Abu Dhabi, UAE
eBird Checklist flooded area back Ain Al Fayda, Abu Dhabi, UAE

We leave Ain al-Fayda keeping an eye out for more birds. We see another Great Grey Shrike but the bird is gone before I can get out of the car. Back on the highway and it is almost 5 and it is getting dark. But we decide to go have a look at the Zakher Lake.

We leave the paved road and we drive through the desert on dust road taking us past a plantation and we spot a Common Kestrel sitting on top of one of the irrigator. It is too dark for any good pictures and I have to use a crazy ISO speed.

We get close enough with a little manoeuvring with the car.

When I have my pictures I try to get out, but then the bird takes off we continue the last few hundred meters to the Zakher Lake passing a Night Heron sitting in one of the bushes.

Common Kestrel, European kestrel, Eurasian kestrel, Falco tinnunculus, Tornfalk

Common Kestrel, European kestrel, Eurasian kestrel, Falco tinnunculus, Tornfalk
Common Kestrel

Desert Wheatear, Oenanthe deserti

Desert Wheatear, Oenanthe deserti
Male Desert Wheatear

Reaching the Zakher Lake and we see a Desert Wheatear just next to the dust path, and of course, by now it is too dark for any good pictures. ut I give it a go using a crazy ISO speed.

Well, there was a lot of birds at the Zakher Lake. The Spoonbill might have been the most interesting of the birds. But by now I had lost interest as it was too dark even to try to get any pictures as they would only have turned out to be disappointments

So the Desert Wheatear goes down the history books as the last bird for today. It had been a very nice days and these two days with my Guide have been worth every cent. I have seen a lot of different landscapes in UAE.

Bird watching at Zakher Lake, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Not much water in the Zakher Lake

Bird watching at Zakher Lake, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Not much water in the Zakher Lake

Bird watching at Zakher Lake, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Bird watching at the Zakher Lake

Bird watching at Zakher Lake, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Desert Rat in action

Bird watching at Zakher Lake, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Leaving the Zakher Lake going back to Dubai

Bird watching at Zakher Lake, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Leaving the Zakher Lake going back to Dubai

eBird Checklist Zakher Lake, Abu Dhabi, UAE
eBird Checklist Zakher Lake, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Back at my room at Radisson Blu Dubai Waterfront and I set my alarm to go off at 3 thirty. I will go to look for birds at the Al Mamzar Beach Park tomorrow morning.

Well, morning, I don´t know. They don´t open until 8 o´clock. And as it is a public holiday celebrating the national day I expect the park to become full quite early.

But I will give it a try. Click HERE to find out if I find any birds at the Al Mamzar Beach Park.

Birding/ Bird watching in United Arab Emirates

       
                  
OK, it has come to my knowledge that we have senior citizens visiting my web page. How hard can it be? So it's not very easy for them to see the blue coloured links to the next page.
Jiffy (also jiff)

noun [in SING.] informal a moment: we'll be back in a jiffy.

ORIGIN late 18th cent.: of unknown origin.

So as you understand, in a jiff pretty much depends on your internet.
So I put a “Next” button here and I hope that there isn't any problem to understand how to use that one. So just CLICK the “Next” button on your left hand side and you will be on the next page in a jiff!

Marunong ka mag-tagalog? Walang problema! Magpunta sa kabilang pahina pindutin ang “NEXT” button sa itaas

Faites vous parlez le français? Pas de problème! Pour arriver à la page suivante faites s'il vous plaît un déclic le bouton “Next” ci-dessus!

Haga usted dice el español? No hay problema! Ver la siguiente página sólo hacer clic el botón “Next” encima!

Farla parla l'italiano? Non problemi! Per vedere la prossima pagina lo scatto per favore giusto Il bottone “Next” sopra

Sprechen sie Deutsch! Kein problem! Wenn Sie die folgende Seite sehen wollen gerade klicken der Knopf “Next” oben!

คุณพูดภาษาไทยได้ไหม ไม่มีปัญหา ถ้าคุณต้องการไปหน้าถัดไป ให้กดปุ่ม “Next” ข้างบนนี้

Вы говорите по-русски? Просто нажмите синюю кнопку "Next" с левой стороны и Вы моментально переместитесь на следующую страницу!

E ni Svenskar och inte förstår Engelska så ska ni skämmas. J och Björn, med det menar jag inte att alla mina stavfel ska ältas varje gång vi träffas.

Flag of Skåne / Skånska flaggan Well, the flag of Skåne, just a BONUS flag.


                                       

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