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UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DOC

VIEWS: 5 PAGES: 15

									                       SICKLEBILL SAFARIS


                        UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
                                        February 9-11 2005

TOUR REPORT

Participants: Phil Gregory (leader) and Joan Clark

This was a private trip to nail Joan’s penultimate family, the Hypocolius, but regrettably it was a really bad
winter for them, so despite sightings just before Steve went on leave, they had left when we got here. We
had the unenviable distinction of being the first group to dip with Steve on this species but there’s always
2006! Still, the supporting cast was well worthwhile and we had a hectic and exhausting 3 days winter
birding, seeing just about everything else that we attempted to find. Joan got over 30 lifers, a useful
increment when you are over the 6000 mark, and Phil got 11 lifers if you include splits.


                                                    Hooded Wheatear at Jebel Hafeet




                                  Southern Grey Shrike at
                                  Ghantoot
Itinerary
Qarn Nazwa, Masafi and Dibba, Wham farm, coast road to Fujairah and Khor Kalba where we had lunch
and did a sea watch from the Fujairah Hilton, then back across the Hajar Mts. to Abu Dhabi.

Wednesday February 9th 2005
Arrived on Cathay Pacific from Hong-Kong via Bahrain at 0030 on Feb. 9, a crowded and cramped flight
jammed up by the loos, where the JAL staff really thought they were doing us a favour with the seat
assignment-oh well! The vast modern Dubai airport had huge lines of sub-continentals awaiting visas, and
sundry Tajiks, Turkmens etc. who looked more at home on a camel than a plane, kept getting sent to join
the lines. Amazingly we did not even complete a form, just a look at the passport and entry visa granted,
unusually painless, as was customs reflecting the enthusiasm with which tourism is now being promoted
here as the oil reserves dry up.


       Sicklebill Safaris UAE Trip Report 2005                                              1
                                                        The UAE is a fascinating mixture of ancient and
                                                        modern. Here racing camels are being exercised at Al
                                                        Wathba camel track, an excellent birding site!




                                                  Steve James met us and by 0130 we were on our way to
the Jebel at Qarn Nazwa for Desert Eagle Owl, kipping on a mat on a sand dune till 0500 when I heard the
owls calling. Foolishly we got up then and then hung around for an hour till dawn seeing nothing, then the
owl slipped over the ridge crest and alighted on a boulder giving fine views as the light strengthened.

Thursday February 10th 2005
D 0615 for Al Wathba camel Track 0645-1000, and
again after dusk at 1845-2000.
Al Ain / Jebel Hafeet, then Wadi Tarabat.

Friday February 11th
Abu Dhabi Island 0730-0830; Ghantoot 1100-1130;
Pivot Fields 1230-1330, Whimpey Pits 1400-1430,
H Khor Dubai wetland then Ghantoot 1630-1830.
Mushrif Palace Park 1930-2000, then airport and
flight to Hong-Kong.                                          Wadi Tarabat site for Plain Leaf
                                                              Warbler and Sand Partridge.

                                                       I personally recorded 161 species, lumping Steppe
                                                       Gull but splitting Persian Shearwater, Steppe Grey
                                                       Shrike, Masked Wagtail, Desert Lesser
                                                       Whitethroat and Eastern Orphean Warbler, all of
                                                       which were new. Other lifers were Indian Pond
                                                       Heron, Egyptian Nightjar, Sykes’s Nightjar, Red-
                                                       tailed Wheatear, Eastern Pied Wheatear and Plain
                                                       Leaf Warbler. My thanks to Joan for the chance to
                                                        Jebel Hafeet commands spectacular
make the trip, and sorry about the wretched             views into Oman and is a good site for
Hypocolius! Great thanks once again to Steve James      Hume’s and Hooded Wheatear.
for his tireless efforts and to both Steve and Carol for
their wonderful hospitality. A tired and very rickety birder made it safely back to Cairns in time for the
back operation next month, so I’ll be less tired and rickety next time!




       Sicklebill Safaris UAE Trip Report 2005                                                2
Species List

Bold type and √ denotes a lifer, NL a non-leader bird, I an introduced or feral species

Little Grebe P. ruficollis
        Fifty were at Whimpey pits

Black-necked Grebe P. nigricollis
       Twenty-five were on one of the Whimpey pits.

Brown Booby Sula leucogaster
      One immature flew by off the Fujairah Hilton, a vagrant to the UAE!

√ Persian Shearwater Puffinus persicus
       About 700 in total off the Fujairah Hilton, some coming fairly close in for good scope views. A
       small black above shearwater with a whitish belly and dusky mottled underwing, flying low to the
       water in small groups and long lines, often landing. I had dipped on this in April 2004.

√ Indian Pond-Heron Ardeola grayii
       A terrific non-breeding bird at Wham farm, perched in the eucalypts. The breast streaks were much
       more heavily marked than those of Squacco. I was pretty sure I saw one flying away last April but
       of this one there was no doubt. Completes my set of Ardeola.

Western Reef Egret Egretta gularis
      Both dark and light morphs were on the coast at Khor Kalba.

Great White Egret E. alba
       A couple were at Dubai wetlands.

Little Egret E. garzetta
        Three were at Wham farm and a couple at Dubai wetlands.

Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
        Four at Wham farm and a couple at the pivot fields.

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
      Twenty-two were at a wetland near Khor Kalba, and some at Whimpey pits and Dubai wetlands.

Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia
       Fifteen at Dubai wetlands.

Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
       Two birds were at a wetland near Khor Kalba.




       Sicklebill Safaris UAE Trip Report 2005                                            3
Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber
       Thirty were on a wetland near Al Wathba, and about 700 on Dubai wetlands.

Socotra Cormorant Phalacrocorax nigrogularis
       Quite good views of twenty or so off Khor Khalba, very Eurasian Shag-like, with skinny necks and
       slender beaks. Immatures are very pale buffy brown with pale underparts.

Great Cormorant P. carbo
       Seven were near Khor Kalba and ten at Whimpey pits.

Grey-lag Goose Anser anser
       Three of the eastern races were at Whimpey pits. Somehow unexpected here.

Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiacus (I)
       Two birds flew over Ghantoot at dusk as our forlorn vigil ended. Introduced here.

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
       Three at Wham farm and some at Whimpey pits.

Eurasian Teal A. crecca
       Three at a little wetland near Khor Kalba.

Pintail A. acuta
        A female flew by off Khor Kalba out at sea, and there were about 30 at Whimpey pits.

Eurasian Wigeon A. penelope
       Five at Whimpey pits

Shoveler A. clypeata
      Thirty at Whimpey pits.

Gadwall A. strepera
     Six at Whimpey pits

Pochard Aythya ferina
      Ten at Whimpey pits.

Osprey Pandion haliaetus
      One at Dubai wetlands.

Montagu’s Harrier Circus pygargus
      A single ringtail was at Al Wathba.

Pallid Harrier C. macrourus
        A fine male at Al Wathba gave excellent flight views several times. A ringtail with the neck collar
        and facial disk also showed well.



       Sicklebill Safaris UAE Trip Report 2005                                             4
Western Marsh Harrier C. aeruginosus
      About 5 female/imm birds at Al Wathba, and a single male.

Black Kite Milvus migrans
       Just a single seen at Al Wathba.

Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga
       One very scruffy moulting bird soaring over at Whimpey pits, ironically not even a year tick as we
       saw one in Japan!

Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus
      A single seen over at Al Wathba.

(Bonelli’s Eagle Hieraaetus fasciatus) NL
       Joan and Steve saw one distantly in Wadi Tarabat, but I did not walk that far.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus
       One seen flying over near Al Wathba.

Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus
       There were a couple of smart adults at Jebel Hafeet, my first for many years.

Lappet-faced Vulture Torgos tracheliotos negevensis
       This was a surprise, soaring over the crags in the mountains and within the UAE, not the Omani bit,
       where it is seemingly the first for some 4 years. Huge, fingered wings, tail slightly diamond shaped,
       pale at sides of chest, dark underwing. I’d have liked a better view but it was late pm as it was. This
       is a new taxon for me, the Arabian race negevensis.

Eurasian Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
       There were a few around, the first at Wham farm.

Common Coot Fulica atra
    Fifteen were at Whimpey pits.

Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
    Ten were seen at Whimpey pits.

Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio
       A single of one of the pale grey-headed Asian races was in reeds at Whimpey pits, of uncertain
       origin. Presumably either caspius or seistanicus.

Grey Francolin Francolinus pondicerianus
       Quite widespread, especially in the irrigated areas like Abu Dhabi city and Al Ain.




       Sicklebill Safaris UAE Trip Report 2005                                               5
Sand Partridge Ammoperdix heyi
      Two flushed up the slope in Wadi Tarabat, but it was just a brief flight view, sadly not countable for
      Joan.

Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus
      About 30 seen in wetlands near Khor Kalba, and 20 at Dubai wetlands.

Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta
      Sixteen seen at Dubai wetlands.

Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus
       Four first winter birds seen off Khor Kalba looked really strange, with brownish mantles and big
       white throats.

Cream-coloured Courser Cursorius cursor
      Three seen on the polo fields near Ghantoot. I think this was a tick for Joan, as the Kenyan birds are
      Somali Courser?

Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva
        Four at the pivot fields.

Grey Plover P. squatarola
       Two seen near Khor Kalba and a couple at Dubai wetlands.

Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius
        One seen at Wham Farm.

Ringed Plover C. hiaticula
      One seen at Khor Kalba and one at the pits near Al Wathba.

Kentish Plover C. alexandrinus
       Seen at several sites, max. 30 birds at the wetlands near Al Wathba

Lesser Sand-Plover C. mongolus
       Two seen near Khor Kalba and lots at Dubai wetlands. The race here is presumably the western
       taxon, a potential split.

Red-wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus
      Widespread, up to 30 seen at pivot fields and Wham Farm.

White-tailed Plover V. leucurus
       Twenty-eight at the pivot fields, only my second ever and first since the famous Warks bird in the
       UK in 1975!




       Sicklebill Safaris UAE Trip Report 2005                                            6
Sociable Plover V. gregarius
       These were an unexpected bonus, two summer plumaged birds of this Endangered species were
       over-wintering at the pivot fields. I had singles in the UK in 1975 and 1977, but none since.

Little Stint Calidris minuta
        About 100 at Dubai wetlands and odd singles elsewhere.

Temminck’s Stint C. temminckii
     Three at Wham Farm, four at the Al Wathba wetlands and four at Dubai wetlands.

Curlew Sandpiper C. ferruginea
      One seen at Dubai wetlands.

Dunlin C. alpina
       A few seen at Dubai wetlands.

Broad-billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus
      There were at least 30 at Dubai wetlands and probably a whole lot more but we ran out of time to
      check the flocks.

Ruff Philomachus pugnax
       Two seen at Khor Kalba wetlands and six near Al Wathba.

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa
       Two seen at Khor Kalba pools and three at Dubai wetlands.

Bar-tailed Godwit L. lapponica
        Thirty seen at Dubai wetlands.

Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
     One seen at Khor Kalba.

Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata
       Seven seen at Al Wathba in the fodder fields there.

Greenshank Tringa nebularia
      One seen at KK pools and 3 at Dubai wetlands.

Redshank T. totanus
      Ten seen at KK pools and four at Dubai wetlands.

Wood Sandpiper T. glareola
     One seen at the pivot fields.

Green Sandpiper T. ochropus
      Two seen at Wham farm and 2 at the pivot fields.



       Sicklebill Safaris UAE Trip Report 2005                                        7
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
    Four seen at Wham farm and two at Dubai wetlands.

Turnstone Arenaria interpres
       Six seen at Dubai wetlands

Pin-tailed Snipe Gallinago stenura
        One at Wham Farm and one at Dubai wetlands, the dark underwing and lack of white trailing edge
        easily told from Common Snipe. Had a single quiet gruff call.

Common Snipe G. gallinago
    Twelve seen at KK pools and Wham Farm, and the same at Dubai wetlands.

(Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus) (NL)
        Steve and Joan saw one at KK.

Sooty Gull Larus hemprichii
       About 250 along the gulf shores around Khor Kalba.

Great-Black-headed Gull L. icthyaetus
       Four fine adults around Khor Kalba, one in near summer plumage.

Slender-billed Gull L. genei
       About 30 near Khor Kalba, and one on a pool near Al Wathba.

Black-headed Gull L. ridibundus
       Common in the gulf, we saw about 800 in the KK vicinity, and more at Dubai wetlands.

Caspian Gull L. cachinnans
       The common taxon of what was formerly known as Herring Gull, white headed, bills often banded,
      mantle fairly pale, yellow legs. There were some 500 around Khor Kalba.

Steppe Gull L. cachinnans barabensis
       My first showing characters of this taxon of what were formerly known as Herring Gull, it had a
       fairly dark mantle, short yellow legs, a smallish bill and neck with a white head. It was with all the
       Caspian Gulls at Khor Kalba. Clements splits it in his last up-date, so technically a tick! The new
       “Gulls” guide places it with the Caspian Gull group along with cachinnans and mongolicus.

Heuglin’s Gull L. (f.) heuglini
      Large, dark mantle, yellow legs, very different to neighbouring Caspian Gull.

Caspian Tern Sterna caspia
      One at Dubai wetlands.




       Sicklebill Safaris UAE Trip Report 2005                                             8
Gull-billed Tern Sterna nilotica
       Three at Dubai wetlands.

Crested Tern S. bergii
       Four at Khor Kalba.

Lesser-Crested Tern S. bengalensis
       Seven seen at Khor Kalba.

Common Tern S. hirundo
    About 150 in the gulf opposite Khor Kalba.

Sandwich Tern S. sandvicensis
      Ten seen at Khor Kalba.

White-cheeked Tern S. repressa
      Four around the promontory at Khor Kalba, the grey rump and tail a useful field character to
      separate from Common Tern.

Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida
      One seen at Whimpey pits.

Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse Pterocles exustus
      About 120 flew over in small groups at Al Wathba, allowing nice flight views. My first since some
      in Kenya about 20 years ago,

Rock Dove Columba livia
      Some of the birds in the rocky wadis here are apparently wild individuals, my first since heaven
      knows when (? Morocco 1978)!

Laughing (Palm) Dove Streptopelia senegalensis
      Abundant.

Collared Dove S. decaocto
       Quite common.

Ring-necked Parakeet Psittacula krameri (I)
      Up to 10 individuals on the first day, and eight on day three, all seemingly feral.

Desert Eagle Owl Bubo ascalaphus
       Good views of one at first light at Qarn Nazwa again, perched atop a boulder and looking
       remarkably dark brown and streaked dark beneath.

Striated Scops Owl Otus brucei
        Steve found us one within 20 minutes at Mushrif Park, fine views in my rapidly waning spotlight. A
        bit easier than last visit……



       Sicklebill Safaris UAE Trip Report 2005                                              9
√ Egyptian Nightjar Caprimulgus aegyptius
      This was along desired species since missing one at Eilat in 1988, so it was great to get nice views
      of about 6 individuals on the tracks at Al Wathba about 1900-1930. Much as expected, quite large
      washed out sandy-grey nightjars with no wing or tail spots.

√ Sykes’s Nightjar C. mahrattensis
      Steve had found this vagrant species a few weeks back, and we got quite good views of a presumed
      male with fairly small white wing spots and white tail spots, seeming slightly smaller than Egyptian
      Nightjar but still a washed out sandy-grey looking species. I was less confident about a putative
      female, this showing small pale spots on the under tail but lacking wing markings. Some books
      show Egyptian Nightjar with small tail spots on some, so I was uncertain about this bird. Nightjars
      are right up there with swiftlets for i.d. puzzles in my book.

Pallid Swift Apus pallidus
        Ten around Wham farm, and 30 at Al Wathba.

Little Green Bee-eater Merops orientalis cyanophrys
        Four at Wham farm and four at al Wathba.

Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis
       About 50 on the first day, with most of these at Wham farm.

Hoopoe Upupa epops
      Seven seen on the first day with most at Wham, then two next day and 5 on the final day.

Eurasian Skylark Alauda arvensis
       Small numbers seen each day, with 4 at Wham, 6 at Al Wathba and 4 at the pivot fields.

Crested Lark Galerida cristata
       A common bird of dry open areas, see daily.

Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla
       Heard at Wham farm, and three seen at Al Wathba.

Lesser Short-toed Lark C. rufescens
       Twenty-five seen at Al Wathba, my first for many years.

Hoopoe Lark Alaemon alaudipes
      Great views of one at Al Wathba, a tremendous large long billed bird.

Bimaculated Lark Melanocorypha bimaculata
      Twelve at Al Wathba, nice flight views initially then some scoped on the paddocks, only my second
      sighting, the first being in Cyprus in 1985.




       Sicklebill Safaris UAE Trip Report 2005                                          10
Desert Lark Ammomanes deserti
       Good views on the car park atop Jebel Hafeet, and a couple at Wadi Tarabat.

Black-crowned Finch-Lark Eremopterix nigriceps
       Just a couple at Wham farm and Khor Kalba.

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
      A few birds around, still early for them I suppose.

Red-rumped Swallow H. daurica
      Four were at Wham farm.

House Martin Delichon urbica
      Six were at Wham farm and a couple at Whimpey pits.

Pale Crag Martin H. (fuligula) obsoleta
       Small numbers in the rocky areas.

Blyth’s Pipit Anthus godlewskii
       Three at Al Wathba gave quite good views.

Richard’s Pipit A. richardi
       Four at Wham farm and one at Al Wathba.

Tawny Pipit A. campestris
      A couple at Wham farm, ten at Al Wathba and a couple at the pivot fields.

Long-billed Pipit A. similis
      Two at Wham farm, and two at Al Wathba.

Meadow Pipit A. pratensis
     Two at Al Wathba, my first for some years (? 1998 UK)

Water Pipit A. spinoletta
      My first for many years were five at Al Wathba and one at the pivot fields.

Red-throated Pipit A. cervinus
       Singles at Wham farm and Al Wathba, and three at the pivot fields. We saw seven species of pipit
       at Al Wathba, a personal best.

White Wagtail M. alba
      Ten at Wham farm, six at Al Wathba and seven at the pivot fields.

√ Masked Wagtail M. (a.) personata
      This very striking distinctive form, surely worthy of specific status, was very obliging at Wham
      farm where two birds showed well. It is a rare migrant here from the Iran area.



       Sicklebill Safaris UAE Trip Report 2005                                        11
Citrine Wagtail M. citreola
        Two at Wham farm and another heard flying over, and heard at the pivot fields.

Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava
      Three at Al Wathba, and sixteen at the pivot fields including a good male Black-headed feldegg,
      one Sykes’s beema and four Grey-headed cinereocapilla

White-cheeked Bulbul P. leucogenys (I)
      This species was fairly widespread in the urban areas.

Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus xanthopygos
      Small numbers at a few sites.

Red-vented Bulbul P. cafer (I)
      We saw four on Dubai island.

Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius
      A slaty-blue male was at Jebel Hafeet.

Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina
        One at Wham farm, two at Al Wathba and two at the pivot fields.

Hume’s Wheatear O. alboniger
      Nice views of two males at Jebel Hafeet.

√ Red-tailed Wheatear O. xanthoprymna
      The first was on roadside wires near Masafi, and we had three more that day at the Khor Kalba
      area. This was one of my most wanted birds here and is a classic speciality of winter birding in the
      UAE.

Hooded Wheatear O. monacha
      A single male of this uncommon species was at Jebel Hafeet where one was photographed perched
      on the volleyball net at the summit hotel! My only previous record was at Eilat in 1988.

√ Eastern Pied Wheatear O. picata capistrata
       Luckily for us Steve had a male of this rather rare migrant staked out near Wham farm, where it
       showed well on the fence and some dead bushes. This was of the race capistrata, itself a potential
       split. The black chin and throat were separated from the white underparts by a gently concave
       demarcation. This and the Red-tailed Wheatear were among my most wanted birds here and leave
       me missing just Somali, Heuglin’s, Red-breasted (Botta’s) and South Arabian Wheatears. It too is a
       winter speciality of the UAE.

Desert Wheatear O. deserti
       One was at Wham farm and three at Al Wathba.




       Sicklebill Safaris UAE Trip Report 2005                                           12
Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros
       Two males at a palm grove near Al Wathba were my first of the rufous-bellied eastern race
       ochruros (presumably), which is very like a rather dark Common Redstart, (oft claimed here by
       pommie birders), and there was a female at Ghantoot.

Bluethroat Luscinia svecica
       A couple were seen nicely at Wham farm, and three at Al Wathba.

Siberian Stonechat Saxicola maura
       A female at Wham farm.

Song Thrush Turdus philomelos (H)
      One was heard in a dense grove on Dubai island, giving the quiet “tip” call.

Graceful Prinia Prinia gracilis
      Eight around Wham and Khor Kalba, and heard the next couple of days.

Clamourous Reed Warbler Acrocephalus stentoreus
      Two seen well at Wham farm and two at Whimpey pits.

Eastern Olivaceous warbler Hippolais elaieca
       Two birds were seen well in the park in Dubai city.

√ Desert Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia (c.) minula
      Like a small, greyish and washed out Lesser Whitethroat with a small bill, small dark facial area
      and often rather brownish on the wings. The call was amazingly distinct, a harsh tri or quadri-
      syllabic scolding series. We saw three or four birds each day, mostly in thorn or acacia scrub, the
      first at Wham Farm.

√ Menetries’s Warbler S. mystacea
      We saw just a single female, in low scrub at the Al Wathba camel track. It was a pretty nondescript
     thing too, the blackish tail with white outer feather edgings being the best feature of a nondescript
     browny above and dull whitish-buff beneath bird. No obvious facial markings either.

Asian Desert Warbler Sylvia nana
       I’d not seen this species since the famous Portland Bill bird of Dec 1970, now split into two species.
       The yellow eye and legs and yellowy bill with a dark tip were very distinctive, as was the long
       scolding call, like a longer and faster version of the call of Desert Lesser Whitethroat. We had the
       first at Al Wathba and others at the dry Wadi Tarabat near Al Ain

√ Eastern Orphean Warbler S. (h.) crassirostris
       One adult seen in dense woodland in Dubai city, a large rather greyish warbler with a blackish face
       and very striking clean white underparts. This was my first Orphean since 1970 in Spain, and
       actually a tick since this eastern form is now split.




       Sicklebill Safaris UAE Trip Report 2005                                             13
√ Plain Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus neglectus
       I was rather taken with this small but quite distinctive Phyllosc, the first being in a thorn bush at
       Wadi Tarabat, where I got good views at close range. It was a small grey-green Phylloscopus, rather
       dingy looking and pale greyish beneath, with dark legs and bill and a thin dark eyestripe, living in
       gaf trees and shrubs in the dry desert valleys. The call was highly distinctive, a loud and incisive trrt
       or trrt trrt, a bit like a short harsh version of the call of Desert Lesser Whitethroat.
        This is a real UAE winter speciality, hard to see elsewhere and one of those obscure but distinctive
       species of which I tend to be over-fond.

Chiffchaff P. collybita
       One at Wham and four in Dubai city parks.

Arabian Babbler Turdoides squamatus
      Just two were seen, in the pool area near Wham farm.

Purple Sunbird Nectarinia asiatica
       Small numbers seen each day.

Isabelline (Turkestan) Shrike Lanius isabellinus phoenicuroides
        Up to four birds were seen each day, rather greyish on the head but somewhat variable.

√ Steppe Grey Shrike Lanius (m.) pallidiceps
       Just one was seen, a great pale grey individual at Al Wathba. I am sure this is a good species, it is
      very different to the local Southern Grey Shrikes, with a quite short pale grey bill with a dark tip,
      and a big white patch on the wing.

Southern Grey Shrike L. meridionalis aucheri
       We saw about 4 of this local dark grey race aucheri at Ghantoot.

Woodchat Shrike L. senator
     One was wintering in Dubai city, but sadly we dipped on the Masked Shrike also wintering nearby,
     disturbed by the hordes of Pakistani cleaners picking up after their Arab masters from the night
     before.

Brown-necked Raven Corvus ruficollis
      Just one seen on the first day, somewhere near Masafi.

House Crow C. splendens (I)
      Common in semi-urban areas.

Common Myna Acridotheres tristis (I)
    Ditto

Bank Myna A. gingianus (I)
      Fifteen seen in the vicinity of Wham farm, another introduced species that I have yet to see in the
      wild.



       Sicklebill Safaris UAE Trip Report 2005                                               14
Rose-coloured Starling Sturnus roseus
      Six were at Wham farm, an unexpected addition to the list and my first away from the UK.

Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris
     Twenty at Al Wathba on the second day and five at Whimpey pits on the third, this is a scarce
    winter migrant in the UAE.

\Village Weaver Ploceus cucullatus (I)
       A couple in the park in Dubai city.

House Sparrow Passer domesticus
      Small numbers daily in the urban areas.

Spanish Sparrow P. hispaniolensis
       A male at Wham farm near the Eastern Pied Wheatear was unexpected. A century tick for sure.

Trumpet Finch Rhodopechys githaginea
      Two at Wham Farm were my first since Morocco in 1977.

Indian Silverbill Euodice malabarica
       Clements inexplicably omits this species in error. It was not uncommon around Wham farm and we
       saw a couple next day.

House Bunting Emberiza striolata
      I saw about 10 on the first day at various sites, starting with by the road near the Red-tailed
      Wheatear, and again at Wham farm. A single next day.




PG Kuranda March 05
www. cassowary-house.com.au




       Sicklebill Safaris UAE Trip Report 2005                                        15

								
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