Sila'a Peninsula is one of the magic places in the UAE, 268 km west of Abu Dhabi it is situated in the extreme west, bordering Saudi Arabia.
It is the authors favourite birding spot in the UAE.
Directions and access:
The drive is easy from Abu Dhabi, it takes appx. 3 hours.
Camping is possible on the peninsula itself, and there is a tiny and very basic guesthouse along the main highway at 24.015533 , 51.764821.
There are six active Hotspots on the Sila'a Peninsula, as well as two Hotspots rarely visited.
- Sila'a--general area is the one eBird Hotspot that covers the whole peninsula, but is very general, and should be used as little as possible.
If you do use it, please indicate in the Notes field where unusual species were seen.
As you drive north from the main highway, you see:
Can be good for Namaqua Dove, larks and other passerines. This fodder drying field is seemingly not used as often these days.
Further north you hit:
This park is good for migrating warblers.
From the public park, you go right, down to:
- Sila'a--Harbour Marsh
This are of small lake and abandoned farms often holds Hypocolius in winter, around position 24.070175 , 51.774022
A Black Scrub Robin was found at the large tree near the entrance in April 2009.
Continuing north to the end of town, you drive out onto the peninsula itself.
The two small plantations here can hold anything, but access have been difficult in 2014/15, seemingly improving in 2019:
The nearby large ghaf plantation' is closed for public access, and can often hold roosting birds of prey.
Driving out the main road towards the tip (4-WD cars only), take frequent exits off to the left (west) from the main road, looking for Bar-tailed Larks and the very local coastal subspecies of Desert Lark.
- Sila'a Peninsula tip
The tip itself gives excellent views of the sea, and during summer (June to September) Sooty Falcons and Red-billed Tropicbirds are worth looking out for. Old records of large flocks of Spotted Sandgrouse is from this tip.
251 species (excluding escapes) have been recorded pr January 2020.
Crested Honey Buzzard and Grey Hypocolius seems to be regular winter visitors to the plantations.
Rarities have included;
- Black-winged Kite
- Golden Eagle
- Water Rail
- Eurasian Woodcock
- Little Gull
- Spotted Sandgrouse (up to 2019)
- Asian Koel
- Little Swift
- Pale Martin
- Icterine Warbler
- Ring Ouzel
- Black-throated Thrush
- Black Scrub Robin
- European Robin
- Taiga Flycatcher
- White-crowned Wheatear
- Buff-bellied Pipit
- Common Rosefinch
- Eurasian Siskin