Dubai birding, March 2014

  • Jeff Curnick
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3 years 10 months ago #86588 by Jeff Curnick
Jeff Curnick created the topic: Dubai birding, March 2014
Hi all,

I have recently returned from a week long business trip to Dubai where I was able to squeeze in a bit of birding on my two spare mornings.

I landed at 7am on Monday 24 March 2014, dropped my bags at the hotel and headed straight out to Al Safa Park where I spent 2 warm hours strolling around the gardens, adding most of the regular birds to my new list. Lifers here were: Red-wattled Lapwing, Pallid Swift, Indian Roller, Eurasian Hoopoe, Graceful Prinia, Purple Sunbird, Shikra, White-eared & Red-vented Bulbul and Pied Myna.
It was also great to see common birds like Laughing Doves and Cattle Egret, which I hadn’t seen for many years.

Al Safa Park, wooded area

Al Safa Park, city birding

Eurasian Hoopoe

Red-vented Bulbul

White-eared Bulbul

Graceful Prinia

Indian Roller (the best I could manage of this skittish bird)

For my last morning, Friday 28 March 2014, I had arranged for a guide to take me out before heading back to the airport. Mike Barth ( ) picked me up at 6am and our first stop was the Pivot Fields where we quickly added 4 lifers to my steadily growing list: Grey Francolin, White-tailed Lapwing, Crested Lark and Daurian Shrike. A beaut male Yellow Wagtail was a nice bonus, always great to see these smart birds.

Pivot Fields

Next stop was the Saih Al Salam Desert which was easily the highlight of my trip. We spent a few hours driving around the desert and Mike took me to a number of goods spots, including two small “lakes” where we picked up a fantastic selection of birds: Western Reef Heron, Temminck’s Stint, Cream-coloured Courser, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse (and the introduced Pin-tailed Sandgrouse) , Turkestan Shrike (and more Daurian Shrike), displaying Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler (a number of times throughout the morning), Asian Desert Warbler, White-throated Robin (a seriously smart male), Rufous-tailed Scrub-Robin, Isabelline Wheatear, Pied Wheatear, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (female) and Eastern Cinereous Bunting.

Saih Al Salam Desert

Isabelline Wheatear

Grey Francolin

Mike Barth picking out some waders

Western Reef Heron

Temminck's Stint

Mike trying (unsuccessfully) to photograph the White-throated Robin

Other birds of interest in the area included Glossy Ibis, Squacco Heron, Common Snipe (none of which I expected to see in the desert), Common Whitethroat, Eastern Black Redstart and a single Barn Swallow.

Squacco Heron

Sand Gazelle (?)

Our final stop was Mamzar Park back in Dubai but by this time (11:30) it was getting very hot and the park was unfortunately quite busy with people so the birding was a bit tricky (too be expected in the conditions).

Considering the little time I had available for birding I was extremely happy with the 64 birds I saw, 24 of which were lifers <!-- s:bouncy: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/bouncy.gif" alt=":bouncy:" title="Enthusiastic" /><!-- s:bouncy: --> Thanks to the local birders who helped out with info and advice (and a beer or two) - the brilliant UAE Birding website ( ) was extremely useful in providing local birding information as well as details for guides and is highly recommended.

Looking forward to returning one day for more fantastic desert birding.


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  • gordon
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3 years 10 months ago #86591 by gordon
gordon replied the topic: Re: Dubai birding, March 2014
Great series of pics showing just how dry it is there!

Interesting seeing species from families we get here and just how similar some of them are.


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  • Peregrinedive
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3 years 10 months ago #86597 by Peregrinedive
Peregrinedive replied the topic: Re: Dubai birding, March 2014
Hi Jeff,

Thanks for sharing your trip with us, I certainly enjoy reading about all these trips from people travelling all over the world!


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