Lesser Florican - August 2023

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Tuesday 8 November 2016

UAE - 8/11/16

Another Eade tour is currently in progress, this time in the United Arab Emirates hoping to see one of the most sought after Wader species in the world, as well as getting a taste for this part of the world I've never ventured to.

I arrived at 00.05 local time this morning and finally hit the open road at 02.30. It was all a bit surreal driving through down town Dubai with sky scrapers surrounding the roads, so I was pleased to arrive at Umm Al Quwain an hour before first light. I parked by some dunes that I thought would lead me out to the Crab Plover high tide roost, however it only led me out to an impressive Sandplover high tide roost. It thankfully only took a couple of hours to finally pin down my target, with 37 Crab Plovers feeding on the exposed mud as the tide slowly went out. Before all this however an action packed seawatch produced good numbers of Socotra Cormorants and two chunky adult Pomarine Skuas, whilst I was also very pleased to find 7 Terek Sands at various points. Feeling completely exhausted and dehydrated, I checked in to my hotel (only 10mins away from the Plovers) and stocked up on food and drink, and also a much needed shower. I headed north in the afternoon to try some mountain birding that turned out to be very successful (a quick stop at some wet fields was also a good stop seeing 30+ Water Pipits). The surprise find in the mountains was a minimum of 8 Hume's Wheatears and a couple of 'Desert Warblers'. Sadly no Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse for me( despite sitting by a dried out Wadi for half hour in the dark), but with 10 lifers I think the day couldn't have gone much better. 

Totals of 66 species so far, with those worthy of a mention below, and those in capitals are lifers. 

Greater Flamingo - 75
Western Reef Egret - 10
Lesser Sand Plover - 300
Greater Sand Plover - 15
Terek Sandpiper - 7
Caspian Gull - 1 (very few Gulls today, but moving to the east coast tomorrow may change that)
Greater Crested Tern - 30
Pomarine Skua - 2
Arctic Skua - 1 on beach
Indian Roller - 8
Green Bee-Eater - 20
Southern Grey Shrike - 3 (sadly no Steppe Grey with all three birds showing solid dark lores)
Purple Sunbird - 2
Short-toed Eagle - 1
Temminck's Stint - 1
Water Pipit - 30+
Pied Wheatear - 1
Isabelline Wheatear - 1
HUME'S WHEATEAR - 8 (all showing the rounded white rump patch ruling out Variable)
DESERT LESSER WHITETHROAT - 1 S. minula (it's prolonged Tit-like rattling call heard several times. Distinctive bird all round)
Long-billed Pipit - 2
Indian Silverbill - 30
Purple Glossy Starling - 1 at Umm Al Quwain. Despite thinking strongly at the time that this is an escaped species in Dubai, further reference to the field guide doesn't refer this species at all. So I could've found a mega, and not bothered taking a photo of it.......whoops!!

 Greater Flamingos

 Green Bee-Eater

 Lesser Sand Plover looking very small and delicate.
 Red-wattled Lapwing
 White-eared Bulbul

 Hume's Wheatear at Wadi Bih - the bottom image capturing the white rump being 'rounded off' at the top. Variable would show a'rectangular' shaped rump.
Indian Roller at Wadi Bih