A few days in Sharjah, UAE

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Earlier this year, I was fortunate to represent at the 14th for the of Arabia. I am pleased to report that the bird team was able to achieve the workshop objective of assessing the regional Red List of all the breeding birds of Arabia.

On the last day of the workshop, the birders were all keen to get into the field and our hosts kindly arranged visits to a few .

Whilst waiting for the bus, a stroll around the hotel gardens produced numbers of Purple Sunbird (Cinnyris asiaticus) and finally I was able to photograph a male in breeding plumage, as before I had only seen females and eclipse males – which I also found today.

Female Purple Sunbird

Male Purple Sunbird in

Finally, a male Purple Sunbird in breeding plumage

Overhead a few Pale Crag Martins (Ptyonoprogne obsoleta) were hawking insects.

Pale Crag Martin

The first protected area was enjoyed on foot but didn’t produce anything out of the ordinary. However we still enjoyed Grey Francolin (Francolinus pondicerianus)

Grey Francolin

Numbers of Indian Silverbill’s (Euodice malabarica) which are more prolific in than Kuwait

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Indian Silverbill

Red-vented Bulbuls (Pycnonotus cafer) are also more numerous in UAE than they are in Kuwait

Red-vented Bulbul

A few winter plumage Whiskered Terns (Chlidonias hybrida) hawking over the pools

And many Pallid Swifts (Apus pallidus) overhead, always a challenge to photograph

Pallid Swift

Before leaving, we flushed a White-tailed Lapwing (Vanellus leucurus) which many of the out of country birders enjoyed.

White-tailed Lapwing

The next stop was a wader roost and many different species were seen, however the Green Bee-eaters (Merops orientalis) along the shoreline provided some colourful entertainment.

LGBee-eater_5441

LGBee-eater_5462

Green Bee-eater

A pale form Western Reef Heron (Egretta gularis) came in to land, just as we were leaving

Western Reef Heron – pale form

Our hosts saved the best to last which was Khor Kalba where we were all anxious to find the Collared . This population is thought to be a localised sub-species in this mangrove habitat and is recorded nowhere else in UAE. The only other known populations is on the south west coast of Saudi Arabia and possibly in Oman. We were searching for this bird across the Khor into the sun, so conditions were far from ideal – but finally we were rewarded with two, albeit distant birds and my last species for the Middle East.

Collared Kingfisher

The Kingfisher and a passing (Limosa lapponica) were a great way to finish the day and a fantastic workshop hosted by Environment and Protected Areas Authority of Sharjah.

Bar-tailed Godwit

Michael Pope

Michael Pope

A South African ex-pat who currently resides in Kuwait with his family since October 2006 and maintains a full time job as an IT Project Manager delivering and implementing projects in Kuwait and the GCC. An avid naturalist with an interest in wildlife and conservation that started early in his schooling when he was selected to spend a week in Londolozi Game Reserve learning about Conservation and Game Ranger principals. That week had a profound impact, the seed was sown and a passion for birds, photography, wildlife, biodiversity and conservation was instilled. He has travelled and explored the length and breadth of South and Southern Africa in search of birds, Aside from birds, he photographs landscapes, mammals, reptiles and just about any living creature he can get in front of his lens. Since arriving in Kuwait has also explored many other countries expanding his list and knowledge. In Kuwait his passion for birding, photography and highlighting the need for conservation and protection of migratory birds has continued and this is showcased on his Kuwait Birding Blog http://kuwaitbirding.blogspot.com/) . In early 2008 he was proposed as and still is Chairman of Kuwait Ornithological Records Committee. However, a personal achievement of his birding tenure in Kuwait is Co-editor for the milestone publication of “Birds of Kuwait – A Comprehensive Visual Guide” in collaboration with BioDiversity East and KUFPEC.

Michael Pope

Michael Pope

A South African ex-pat who currently resides in Kuwait with his family since October 2006 and maintains a full time job as an IT Project Manager delivering and implementing projects in Kuwait and the GCC. An avid naturalist with an interest in wildlife and conservation that started early in his schooling when he was selected to spend a week in Londolozi Game Reserve learning about Conservation and Game Ranger principals. That week had a profound impact, the seed was sown and a passion for birds, photography, wildlife, biodiversity and conservation was instilled. He has travelled and explored the length and breadth of South and Southern Africa in search of birds, Aside from birds, he photographs landscapes, mammals, reptiles and just about any living creature he can get in front of his lens. Since arriving in Kuwait has also explored many other countries expanding his list and knowledge. In Kuwait his passion for birding, photography and highlighting the need for conservation and protection of migratory birds has continued and this is showcased on his Kuwait Birding Blog http://kuwaitbirding.blogspot.com/) . In early 2008 he was proposed as and still is Chairman of Kuwait Ornithological Records Committee. However, a personal achievement of his birding tenure in Kuwait is Co-editor for the milestone publication of “Birds of Kuwait – A Comprehensive Visual Guide” in collaboration with BioDiversity East and KUFPEC.

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