Hamraniyah Fields is a fairly well-watched very large area consisting of many agricultural fields some 18 kilometers south of the city of Ra's al-Khaimah, just southwest of Ra's al-Khaimah International Airport.
Hamraniyah Nursery was discovered in November 2012 and was a spot not to be missed when visiting. It now appears to have dried out, but other fields nearby should be on your radar.
Directions and access:
From Al Jazeerah Khor;
Continue north towards Ra's al-Khaimah for appx. 8 km, opposite the Bin Majid Beach Hotel. Turn right here (it should be signposted to Ra's al-Khaimah Airport) to Al Kharran and drive appx. 8 km to this settlement. Turn right at this roundabout towards the airport.
After 1 km you have Saqr Park on your left side - well worth a visit from September to May.
Another 7,7 km past Saqr Park brings you to the gate of Hamraniyah Nursery (at position 25.639737,55.952683). If still watered, walk in and explore the fields.
If dry, other good fields nearby are described below.
From the nursery, drive another 2 km to the Airport Roundabout. Pass straight through, keeping the runway on your right side. After 4,3 km you come to yet another roundabout. Bear right. Continue 2,6 km and you are at the gate of the former hotspot of Hamraniyah Fields.
A usually-locked gate on your left side, bearing a sign 'No entry without permission' leads into a large area of agricultural fields. Ask the foreman on duty for permission to enter. Usually no-one is attending the gate, which makes asking permission more troublesome.....
It all depends on what is being watered when you arrive, look for any fields with active sprinklers.
You are now in the centre of the Hamraniyah farming area.
A good exit point to the road to Wamm Farms or Khor al-Beida is at 25.578613,55.878052.
Give Hamraniyah Nursery or the nearby watered fields a throurough walk-through. It seems to be the best site in the UAE for wintering Buff-bellied Pipit, with up to 6 birds present in January 2014. Rarities like Paddyfield Pipit, White-breasted Waterhen and Long-toed Stint have been seen here, as well as Caspian Plover being regular.
As you pass the airport on your right, check the roadside and roadside fields for Indian Rollers, Little Green Bee-eaters, Southern Grey Shrikes, Purple Sunbirds, Spanish Sparrows (with luck), Bank Myna, wintering eagles, harriers, Crested Honey Buzzards, European Stonechats and Richard's Pipits.
The fields behind the gate can look dried up, but can still be favoured by a large number of birds.
Various birds of prey can occur throughout the year with Lesser Kestrel in spring. Rose-coloured Starlings are regular in winter, Pale Rockfinch is sporadically abundant between late February and early April. Striated Scops Owl is common in this area, listen for their call after dark or check out the trees for roosting owls during daytime.
In 2014, the fields around 25.598848,55.890799 and south were the greenest.
Hotspots, starting from the approach to the nursery, ending up on the main highway to the south:
Worth a stop driving in. Pallid Scops Owls can be found here.
For pipits, waders and Bank Myna.
If watered, holds large number of Water Pipit, with Buff-bellied Pipits often present.
If dry, go to the site above and below for the same species selection.
Where UAE's first Paddyfield Pipit was documented.
Before moving into the big fields west of the airport, contemplate a visit to the following hotspots:
Now you move into the large area filled with farms.
The original site, and the Hotspot that covers the whole area in general is:
Further north, to an area that is watered. This area can also be reached directly from the Paddyfield grass farm
Before heading south, check out:
Moving south to the highway, check out the two areas:
Once back on the E87 highway, drive out to
Banyan Fodder Field
A fabulous hotel is found here, as well as well watered fields and ghaf woodlands:
Banyan Tree Al Wadi
This is the only place in the UAE where European Bee-eater, European Roller, Common Starling and Spanish Sparrows have been found breeding. Yellow-throated Sparrows are summer visitors to the Khatt area.
170 species (excluding escapes) have been recorded as of March 2015.
These fields have a history of producing surprises;
- several Crested Honey Buzzard
- several Black-winged Kite (1992 to 2014)
- Northern Goshawk (1999)
- White-breasted Waterhen
- Common Crane (2013)
- Dotterel (1995)
- several Sociable Lapwings
- Long-toed Stint (2013)
- Black-winged Pratincoles
- Red Turtle Dove (1997)
- Little Swift (1994 & 1995)
- Alpine Swift (1995)
- several Merlin
- Bay-backed Shrike (2010)
- Oriental Skylark
- Common Blackbird (2003)
- Black-throated Thrush (2014)
- Buff-bellied Pipit (the Nursery is probably best wintering place in the UAE since 2012)
- Paddyfield Pipit
- Brambling (1995)
- Little Bunting (1995)
- Red-headed Bunting (2002)