I've been visiting Ajman Wastewater Treatment Plant over the last 6 years and this year (ie the last 12 months) surpasses all previous years in variety and quantity of birds. Over this time the reed beds in particular have matured and the weaver population has thrived. To my knowledge there has always been a small, strong resident population of Streaked Weavers here and in, or before, May 2018 this was joined by a small group of Baya Weavers. Again, at the beginning of April this year (2019) the Baya Weavers returned in force and with the Streaked Weavers, were active nest builders for the next 3 months. Maximum counts (seen) were 40 Streaked and 16 Baya, although I would consider these numbers conservative. Baya Weavers, of course, are presently considered as of escape origin, but it will be interesting to see if this population can become self-sustaining over the next few years. In any case, I have had great fun watching them.
I've seen many first (for me) at this site in the last 12 months including Purple Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Indian Pond Heron, Shikra, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Osprey, Jack Snipe, Grey Wagtail, Great Cormorant (3 have stayed through the summer), Black-eared Kite, Common Nightingale and, of course, Mark's Pheasant-tailed Jacana.
I have seen a few 'escapes' here in the last 12 months (water attracts) including 3 Black Swan, a Fulvous Whistling Duck, a Yellow-crowned Bishop and a Red-billed Quelea (which joined the weavers one day).
The duck and wader populations continued to thrive with good numbers in the last 12 months and I am already looking forward to their return in the next few weeks with great anticipation. This is a place where I believe anything can turn up and maybe the next 12 months will be even better...…...
Their nest is always so amusing to look at. However, I often wonder how often do their eggs roll off the nest? I guess that’s why there is a deep pocket near the opening based on your photo. Thank you.
Do we need a prior official permission to enter inside?? Before the pandemic I had been there on a Fri and some one near the gate told me needs a permission to enter. If so, how to obtain permission?
Nice article, Steve, and some cracking images. The site became one of my favourite haunts in my later years in the UAE. There have been some great birds there - Ahmed's Great White Pelicans in 2015 (was it really that long ago???!), my Little Swift in 2017 in addition to the Jacana in 2018, to name a few.
The management team at AWWTP are to be congratulated on their foresight and open approach in allowing access to the site and wanting to develop it into an important habitat for birds. Something sadly rarer than a Jacana in the UAE these days. I was sorry never to be able to attend one of their get-togethers - I always seemed to be travelling when they were held - but I hope that they continue to be supported by the birding community and the site further developed for the benefit of both birders and birds.