Comments: This was a really quick visit because a) we were on the way back to Canada from a long trip (South Africa, Madagascar, Reunion Island and Mauritius) and b) there weren’t a ton of life birds for us to see. It was easy birding and we were successful but the habitat is quite destroyed. As usual I have only listed life birds.
Day 1: Arrived from Johannesburg and drove down to The Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Spent the afternoon at the Great Mosque (spectacular!) and then had a relaxing evening.
Day 2: We were supposed to go to Lulu Island this morning for the Hypocolius but we overslept and missed the boat so we had a lazy breakfast and then started to drive via several birding spots up to Dubai. Our first stop was Green Murzzabah Park, and although we weren’t sure exactly where in the park we should be, we lucked out and pulled into a spot (keep left when you are driving through so that you cross a small river/stream and then pull into the gravel parking area on the left) with fantastic views of Arabian Partridge, Sand Partridge, Pale Rock-finch, Hume’s and Red-tailed Wheatear.
We didn’t have too much time so we did a quick stop at Al Ain for Pallid Scops-owl but unless you know where it is it is a waste of time so we kept going onto Qarn Nazwa for the Pharoah Eagle Owl. We got there as it was getting dusk and used playback for a while. We were about to leave as it was getting very dark when we both heard it call and could also see it sitting
right on top of the rock. Luckily we had our scope so we got ‘good-enough’ looks at it. Onto Raffles in Dubai.
Day 3: We had a number of locations on our list today: Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary has great hides and lots of birds but nothing new for us so we went to Mushrif Park but that was incredibly quiet so north to Umm Al Qawan – our main target was Crab Plover but the tide wasn’t right. Did get Socotra Cormorant and Steppe Gull. Went to Baracuda Beach for lunch and then decied to try Umm Al Qawan again and this time we lucked out with great views of a number of Crab Plovers on the sand bank – although it was just as well we had the scope. Back to Raffles, Dubai for the night.
Day 4: Decided to try the other side of the peninsula today – started at Khor Kalba with dozens of terns – although nothing new for us. Continued driving along towards the Wildlife Preserve but couldn’t access the site we wanted so turned around. As we were driving back we lucked
out with both Baltic and Sooty Gull. We were now ready for our final night at Raffles.
Guides & Resources
Field Guide: Birds of the Middle East, Richard Porter and Simon Aspinall
Guides: We didn’t use guides but got some fantasitc information from the people at UAE Birding
In addition, if you want to go to Lulu Island ( we didn’t) you can get a boat by contacting Ocean Dream Boats.
Lonely Planet guide for points of interest.