Wadi Bih is a fantastic area for mountain birding in the Northern Emirates. It takes appx. 90 minutes to drive here from downtown Dubai via the E611 (do NOT use E311 due congestion) and Ra's al-Khaimah.
Directions and access:
How to get there from Ra's al-Khaimah;
At the Clocktower Roundabout turn right, after 5.5 km you reach the giant paraffin lamp roundabout where you pass straight through, drive another 5.2 km through the Coffepot Roundabout heading towards the massive mountains in the distance. As you pass over 3 speedbumps and a disused Army-camp on your left side, look out for the sign saying 'W. Al-Baih", see photo below. Turn right here and as you pass the man-made dam you are entering Wadi Bih.
Birding is good early morning (sunrise to 10:00) as well as late afternoon to after dark for the Lichenstein's Sandgrouse.
Wadi Bih is a good place to look for resident mountain species like Chukar, Barbary Falcon, Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse, Pallid Scops Owl, Pale Crag Martin, Desert Lark, White-spectacled Bulbul, Streaked Scrub Warbler, Hume's Wheatear, Striolated Bunting and Trumpeter Finch. In winter the avifauna is augmented by Persian Wheatear, Plain Leaf Warbler and wintering Sylvia-warblers.
A note regarding Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse; very hard to see during daytime, but if you happen to find ANY water, however small, during your exploration of this beautiful wadi, return here at sunset. The sandgrouse will fly in to drink appx. 20 minutes after sunset, and with a bit of luck you can spotlight them from your car. Listen for their calls.
Explore the key sites:
Wadi Bih - Parr's Farm
Wadi Bih--general area for the area not covered by the above eBird Hotspots
Nearby is Jebel Jais. The highest point in the UAE, reached by a new road to the top. This area is VERY busy during Friday and Saturday and public holidays, but can be rewarding outside of these timings. Hooded Wheatea have been recorded with some regularity, especially at areas lower down.
154 species (excluding escapes) have been recorded as of January 2020.
Rarities have included:
- Griffon Vulture; 1992
- Brown Shrike; 2012/13
- Ashy Drongo; 2014
- Hume's Leaf Warbler
- Ring Ouzel
- Black-throated Thrush
- Blue-and-white Flycatcher (Jebel Ashker)
- European Robin
- Eversmann's Redstart
- Mourning Wheatear
- Common Rosefinch
- Eastern Cinereous Bunting
- Little Bunting; 2012