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1. Sea Cruiser, via Yaser al-Hamri, call or SMS on his mobile phone +971 50 800 9495. This was reliable in 2018/19.
2. Classmarine on landline +971 2 6711147, contact Tariq. He normally charges AED 350 for drop-off & pick-up. Provided good reliable service in Dec 2014 and Feb 2015. They leave from the jetties near Marina Mall or from Mina Zayed on the north end of the corniche, check when booking. It will take less than 5 mins to get to Lulu from there. Best time look for the Hypocolius is either early morning or in the afternoon until about 5pm – they seem to roost somewhere on the NE side of the island and fly off there from their feeding area (see below) just before sundown.
There may be security guards about the jetty who will ask you what you are doing. Technically you are trespassing but you are allowed to stay on the beach. If challenged, walk onto the beach and, when you are left alone, and feel brave, dive back onto the main part of the island.
Try to get the boat guy to go to jetty 2 or the smaller one nearby; you will have much longer walk if you go to jetty 1.
Assuming you get dropped off at 2:
- Come off the jetty and turn right onto broad, graded road. Runs parallel to beach.
-Go past the first, and then the second large, dark blue marble beach showers (I think this is what they are: you cannot miss them, a few hundred yards apart on the beach on your right).
- Approx 100m further than the second shower, on the left you will see a large, creamy building, about 25-50m in on the left. It is slightly obscured by the garden hedge in front of it. Between you and the building’s hedge, and lining the track right round the island, is a strip of vegetation. First palms, then Zizyphus, then Gums and finally, on the inner edge, Salvadora, a rather scrubby, leafy grey-green bush. The Hypocolius feed on the berries of the Salvadora.
- They are regularly in the Salvadora right in front of the creamy building. If not there, carefully work the Salvadora strip heading away from the jetty until just past a large, fenced in radio mast a couple of hundred yards along. The birds are invariably somewhere in here, or in the garden (think it is labelled ‘shower cabins’) just beyond the radio mast, or, failing all of that, near the building in and along a bit from the creamy one; it is dull pink (I think) and says ‘Weaving Studio for Fabrics’ on a brass plaque on the door. Right in front of this is an ornamental hedge with tiny yellow flowers, the birds love to perch in this.
If you get there when it is still hot, the birds may not be that obvious; they often vanish right into the Salvadora. Hence I suggest walking the Salvadora very gently and looking ahead; you want to try to get them before they start flushing. However, if they do they nearly always circle and come back round again.
I have seen Hypocolius over a large area of the island, but the area outlined above is head and shoulders above everywhere else; I suggest you stick it out here if you fail in the first half hour or so.