Called in for my first visit to the newly reopened Lagoon Hide at RAKWS around midday today more out of curiosity than expectation. I'd heard the light can make it very difficult to see things well and birds can often be distant from this hide - and so it was to prove...
After about 15 minutes of disappointing looks at distant, milky waders, I panned left into the bay and immediately noticed what looked like an hunched juvenile Cormorant way in the distance. Dark upperparts and very white underneath, but too white. Gleaming white. It changed angle and the penny dropped - Great-crested Grebe. Common enough back in the UK, but very rare here (12 previous records, with the last, in 2004, being a corpse) and long overdue.
It took ages to be certain that this WAS a grebe - not only was the heat haze causing distortion, but the bird was over 1.5km away! Tommy scrambled with his two apprentices and joined Louise & I in the hide, by which time I was sure I'd seen a pink bill during one of its brief moments of activity. Stewart soon followed and, after adding the distant white dot to his list, suggested that the bird might be closer from elsewhere on the creek.
This was a great idea and we managed to catch the bird swimming (though still a good 1km distant) from the new creekside walkway at Al Jadaf. Views still weren't great though....
Thant's really a great record, Mark!
Congrats Mark! What a terrific spot!