Umm al-Qaiwain Breakwater - return to Central Region

Umm al-Qaiwain Breakwater consists of a beach with a breakwater at the very tip of the city of Umm al-Qaiwain.

 

Directions and access:

This area is easily reached from the main Dubai to Ra's al-Khaimah beach highway.

 

Birding strategy:

Park the car at 25.595375 , 55.577024 and walk the soft sand 270 meters down to the beach. A telescope is needed here.

Check the beach north and south of your position for waders, and walk north to the gull and tern-roost often found here.

Check offshore for flocks of Socotra Cormorants. Depending on time of year, several thousand birds can be seen flying. In winter, Pallas's Gull can often be seen resting or flying offshore.

Umm al-Qaiwain Corniche and

 Umm al-Qaiwain Harbour are also Hotspots worth exploring while here.

 

Birds:

This is the prime spot in the UAE to see large numbers of Socotra Cormorant which flies quite close to the shoreline at this point, sometimes in flocks of several thousands. Sometimes absent! 
At the freshwater outflow at
25.598094 , 55.576418 Saunders's and Little Tern (tricky to separate outside of breeding season), Greater and Lesser Sand Plovers and Striated Heron can often be found. There is usually a good beach roost of gulls and terns near the breakwater, and Pallas's Gull is likely from December to late March. Other wintering gull species include Steppe Gull (common), Heuglin's Gull (common in low numbers) and Slender-billed Gull and Black-headed Gulls. Terns are present with Greater Crested Tern, Lesser Crested Tern, White-cheeked Tern and Common Tern. One major rarity was recorded and photographed here 27 March 1996; Dunn's Lark, the only accepted UAE record.

 

108 species (excluding escapes) have been recorded at these three Hotspots as of March 2015.

 

Crab Plover info:
 

Viewing from UAQ town:

A good spot for Crab Plover is along the road at 25.547394 , 55.559575

Only viewable with a telescope, probably best a low tide when the birds can be seen feeding on the mudflat sharply to your right in front of the Rulers palace.

Another option for photographing Crab Plovers is a resort boat trip from Flamingo Beach Resort.
They do a 1-hour private boat trip towards the eBird Hotspot Siniyah Island--Flamingo Resort boat trip on Siniyah Island for AED 250 (price 2019). Socotra Cormorants are another bonus on this trip.

© 2018 Tommy Pedersen
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