Mushrif National Park - return to Central Region
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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.
114 species (excluding escapes) have been recorded as of December 2018.
The star attraction is without a doubt the resident Pallid Scops Owl found near the mosque (see map below). This park has provided numerous visiting birders with excellent views over the past 20+ years. The owls frequently performs well and 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 at 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 Lesser 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
Species regularly seen are Crested Hony Buzzard, Greater Spotted Eagle, Shikra, Western Marsh Harrier, sometimes Pallid and Montagu's Harrier and Eurasian Sparrowhawk.
Rarities have included European Honey Buzzard on migration, Asian Koel, Little Swift, Ashy Drongo and a returning Black Drongo, and more regular uncommon species like Semicollared Flycatcher, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Masked Shrike and Olive-backed Pipit.