For the last few years we have been running fairly regular Pelagic trips off the east coast of the UAE. Always out of Khor Kalba with our captain Abdullah. He has become very knowledgeable with regard to the birds and now has the longest Pelagic list of any birder in the UAE.
He has become very experienced at chasing and finding the birds, however when he reported during the week that he had seen up to 300 Jouanin’s Petrels and was seeing large numbers each day during his fishing trips, one could not help but be a little sceptical given only 15 previous records (all achieved in 2011 -eBird observations for the UAE)
With this information in mind we arranged a pelagic (09/11/12) for yesterday afternoon, the birds had been seen at approx 60km off shore and given the earlier sunset now we headed straight out at a fast pace. I have attached an image of the track we took, the straight line is our return in darkness, the outbound is the track with kinks where we picked up our first Jouanin’s and a Masked Booby (approx 3rd Summer). The Petrels started to occur more frequently the more we moved away from shore with regular groups of 2, 3 and even one of 10. These numbers are unprecedented for the UAE and our final count was in excess of 145 !
In addition we had 8 Arctic Skuas, 2 Long-tailed Skuas and 2 sub-adult Masked Boobys. Needless to say it was a nice change from Persian Shearwaters and Bridled Terns and we will certainly be back out again next week.