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Thread: Visiting 19th & 30th June

  1. #1

    Visiting 19th & 30th June

    Hello and thanks first of all for the excellent resources on UAE birding!
    I'm flying to OZ from London next month and due to Etihad schedule changes have two unexpected layovers in Abu Dhabi. I appreciate the temperatures will be 'unpleasant' but I'd rather not be stuck in an airport terminal all day. So instead I plan on getting a car and doing a bit of birding. This is my first time in the region so plenty of new goodies for me to see (if they aren't all hiding from the sun).

    On the 19th I'll be on the road between 08:30 and 19:30 (more or less) and plan on visiting the sites around Al Ain, with Al Wathba on the way back (as far as possible from the main road).
    On the 30th I'll head for the Marina and Emirates Palace between 07:30 and 12:00.

    Does that sound like a reasonable plan? I've driven in many different countries so the roads & traffic don't faze me.
    And if anybody wants to tag along (visitor or local) please get in touch!


  2. #2
    Forum moderator Sandman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Dubai; Jumeirah 1
    Sounds like a great plan. Not sure if Al Qua'a Fodder Fields are still off-limits, but might be worth a drive down.
    Tommy Pedersen
    UAE; 392 species - Litle Bunting 12 November 2016
    World; 4,358 - Grey-sided Thrush, Nanhui, Shanghai - 10 November 2016

  3. #3
    Top Contributing Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Access to Al Qua'a was OK when I was last there in the winter. Guy in the gatehouse was really friendly (though no English). Emirates Palace could be a problem though, as there is no general access.

  4. #4
    Hi guys, many thanks for the feedback! I guess I'll just have a look at the Emirates Palace grounds from outside the fence My main targets for that morning will be Socotra Cormorant and the various terns - is it possible to drive to the roundabout at the end of the Marina Village? Or is elsewhere better for a bit of 'seawatching'?


  5. #5
    Top Contributing Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Hi Joost

    if you send me an email (or send me your email by private message) I can send you some details on looking for Socotra C and White-cheeked Tern etc in AD. Access is not easy to Emirates Palace but you can look for the birds, as you say, from Marina Mall. I have some notes I prepared for other visitors a year or two that I can send with more precise details. Plus one or two other sites on AD island might yield the odd wader etc.

    On the first day, visiting Al Ain is a good plan, and you will certainly see a few notables eg Hume's Wheatear, as well as some common species eg Desert Lark, Little Green Bee-eater etc if you go to Green Mubazzarah and up to the top of Jebel Hafeet. I'd also recommend Zakkher Lake, just c5km from Green Mub for some water birds and a bit of variety - there won't be loads there but it is worth a try for sure. Watbha Lake is closed for the summer and the best bits are not visible from the road, but a short stop is worthwhile for seeing the breeding Gtr Flamingoes is worth factoring in. But you will get more variety and smaller species by trying Zakkher.

    Note that on the 19th it will still be Ramadan so be careful not to eat or drink in public, although being low key and doing so from inside your hire car is probably fine. By 30th when you return Ramadan will be finished, so no restrictions on then. Renting a car and driving from AD airport to Al Ain will be simple; very little traffic. You can do AD airport to Zakkher Lake in c1hr 20 mins or so, if you know the way - it is not difficult but make sure you have a sat nav on your phone or maps printed out beforehand. Don't rely on the hire car company giving you an atlas...

    Oscar Campbell

    271 (271 Greylag Goose, 13th January 2018; 270 White-tailed Lapwing, 14th October 2017; 269 Marsh Sandpiper, 21st September 2017)

  6. #6
    Hi Oscar,

    Many thanks for the great advise and the heads up about Ramadan - I would have been completely unaware of that! So can I assume restaurants etc will all be closed until sunset (even at the airport?) - and is it OK to drink water, or again discreetly in the car only?
    I'll definitely add Lake Zakher to the itinerary. Funny, those common species you mention are ones I am very much looking forward to seeing for the first time!
    I will send you a PM about the Abu Dhabi island sites.

    Best wishes,

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