Mushrif National Park - 25.218198N , 55.449090E
Mushrif National Park is a large protected park with indigenous Ghaf woodland. It is an under-watched site.
Directions and access:
Mushrif National Park is open every day 08:00 - 22:30, and it gets very busy during Thursday-Friday and public holidays after 11:00. There is an entry fee of AED 10.00 per vehicle.
It is located 5 km east of Dubai Airport, within easy reach of downtown Dubai.
To cover the area thouroughly, plan to spend 2-3 hours here.
This is the best example of indigenous Ghaf Prosopis cinerea woodland in the area and can be quite an interesting place to bird for a few hours in winter, as well as to look for the Pallid Scops Owl after dark throughout the year.
New in 2012:
See John Iversen's notes at the bottom of this page.
84 species (including escapes) have been recorded pr December 2009.
The star attraction is without a doubt the resident pairs of Pallid Scops Owl found near the mosque (see map below). This park has provided numerous visiting birders with excellent views over the past 15+ years. The owls frequently perfoms well and often come down on to the grass to feed under the glare of floodlights located on top of surrounding buildings. They can be remarkably confiding, but bring a strong flashlight in case they remain in the trees. They can be heard calling after dusk, often inside the closed and fenced-in area. As several disappointed birders can attest to; the owls can at times be impossible to find.
Grey Francolin, Eurasian Collared Dove and White-cheeked Bulbul are abundant residents. With a bit of luck Arabian Babbler, another resident bird can be seen, often around the dump-site (25.222339 , 55.454453). Yellow-throated Sparrows breed from April onwards and are regularly seen behind the swimming pool. Another summer breeder is Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin and favour the bushy, thicker places.
Between late October and March the 'Eastern' Black Redstart (looking very much like a Common Redstart) is common, and you should find quite a few Sylvia warblers too, including Desert Whitethroat and Menetries's Warbler, possibly also Eastern Orphean Warbler.
Raptors can often be seen in Mushrif National Park from October to April; try viewing from the elevated parking lots at:
- 25.214621 , 55.450083
- 25.215635 , 55.458266
Rarities have included Crested Honey Buzzard (now wintering regularly!), European Honey Buzzard on migration, Northern Goshawk, Asian Koel, Little Swift, Semi-collared Flycatcher, Red-breasted Flycatcher and Masked Shrike.
Mushrif NP interactive
From John Iversen (since late 2011 he has rapidly become The Expert on this birding site):
First, download the Mushrif Google Earth file: Mushrif NP file
How to use it:
◦ First, use the scale slider at the right of the window to zoom in on the map – all the placemarks and labels will move from being on top of each other to being better separated in the more detailed scale.
◦ Areas (apologies in advance for my somewhat idiosyncratic naming protocol!) are marked with white boundary lines. If you click on the white pushpin/label for a given Area, you will activate a popup with the species list for that area. Note that the areas are not arbitrary but follow the topography, barrier fences and habitat distinctions within the park.
◦ Points of interest are marked with a green square/label; click for popup.
◦ Individual sightings are marked with a yellow triangle/label; click for popup. Note that by using the scale slider you can zoom down to individual trees, and where possible I have tried to be that accurate in my placement of the sighting point.
◦ New sightings are marked with a blue bullseye/label; click for popup.
◦ To the lower right on the screen is a row of ochre envelope icons. Click for popup which, in the case of the Weather and Gallery icons will contain links. When closing a link, click the “return to Google Earth” link at the upper left corner of the pane. Note: the Gallery file is still a little wonky – when you click on one of the photo links, it may return you to the Earth screen of Mushrif, in which case you need to click on the Gallery icon again, and the photo will load. Still working one that one . . . .
More to follow as John gains more knowledge of the park.