Wednesday, 27 February 2013

City Park, Denver, Feb 2013

They are always there - the voices in my head. Like the constant honking of a large flock of Canada Geese, they struggle against each other to make themselves heard until one catches my attention. ‘Paranoia’, ‘Self-pity’ and ‘Guilty Conscience’ will all have their say, but only I can hear them. Sadly the little voice known as ‘Check Your Roster Carefully’ has been strangely mute this week. If it had chirruped at the right time, I might not have missed my trip to Johannesburg. My boss at the airline was sympathetic, but The Management at 10,000 Birds have started ‘proceedings’.
I was de-rostered, then re-rostered but, with the greatest of respect to Denver, a snow-bound morning there does not quite compare with 2 days in South Africa. Having said that, the first thing I saw on getting down from the bus at 17th Ave and Madison St., was a pair of lions.

I had chosen to come to City Park (Google Earth ref; 39°44'45.35"N 104°57'16.41"W) as it was likely to be navigable today. Snow had fallen last night, but the ploughs had already been busy clearing the roads and paths by the time I reached the park at 07.30. The roads were still a little icy, but the fresh snow had been swept away and walking was easy.

Before crossing the road, I was stopped by a Brown Creeper that allowed me to approach very closely while it picked through the furrows of a rough-barked tree. I did not identify the tree; if anyone has any thoughts, they will be warmly welcomed.

Across the road is Ferril Lake. Canada Geese were obvious already and their continuous honking provided the backing track for the morning. They looked as if they had been frozen into the ice and their lack of movement was rather disconcerting. In a tiny patch of open water a few ducks were seen. The Northern Shoveler may have been north of its normal winter range according to Sibley, so I made a point of getting a recognizable photo. On returning home, I noticed that the eBirders of Denver frequently record them here during the cold months. With them were a few Common Golden-eyes and Ring-necked Ducks.

Much to my shame, I missed the Cackling Geese. I noted that the Canada Geese were rather small, but didn’t spot that some of them may have been Cackling Geese. All the photos that I took contain Canada Geese, with no sign of the shorter neck and bill or the rounded head of the Cackling Goose. eBird reports from the park often mention both geese which makes me think that I should have looked more closely. One goose that stood out was a domestic Greylag?

A soft call attracted me to a tree with hanging seed-heads. House Finches were feeding on the seeds and sat very well in the splendid early morning light.

Beyond Ferril Lake is the Duck Lake. Google Earth’s image of the lake shows an island with white-washed trees, so it was no surprise to find a colony of Double-crested Cormorants there. 

Many were in their nests with a few birds flying around carrying nesting material and gifts for their mates. The Denver eBirders record that the cormorants have only just begun to return after the winter.

Fox Squirrels were very common in the park today. I presume that they hibernate to a greater or lesser extent, but there were plenty of them abroad on this cold, late- February morning. The bare trees made them very easy to find.
Black-capped Chickadees were also quite common in small flocks of 3 -5 birds. They were feeding busily and appeared to ignore my presence close to them. Red-shafted Northern Flickers were seen quite regularly through the morning.

I had worked my way to the South-western corner of the park, close to the junction of 17th Ave and City Park Esplanade. There is a bus stop at Google Earth ref; 39°44'37.95"N 104°57'23.20"W. To round out the day a Keeeer (thank you to for the embedded call) overhead and a shadow crossing the road, alerted me to three Red-tailed Hawks as they passed, low overhead.

Birds seen; 19

Canada Goose 800, Mallard 1, Northern Shoveler 1, Ring-necked Duck 4, Common Golden-eye 18, Double-crested Cormorant 50, Red-tailed Hawk 3, American Coot 2, Ring-billed Gull 30, Downy Woodpecker 1, Northern Flicker 7, Black-billed Magpie 5, American Crow 6, Black-capped Chickadee 18, White-breasted Nuthatch 2, Brown Creeper 3, European Starling 25, House Finch 25, House Sparrow 8.

City Park lies to the east of downtown Denver, north of 17th Ave between City Park Esplanade and Harrison St. Bus no. 20 has 4 request stops along the avenue and costs $2.25 from downtown Denver, just 2 miles away. It backs onto the zoo which may account for a few unrecognizable calls close to the fence.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Bang Pu Mai, Bangkok, Feb 2013

The tide at Bang Poo (Bang Pu Mai) was predicted, by 2 different sources, to reach its height around 07.30 this morning. It was pretty high when I arrived and looked as if it was still flowing strongly. My plan had been to arrive around high tide, check out the heron and egret roosts, then take a moment at the hide overlooking the roosting ponds. Hopefully by this time the tide would be receding and I could repair to the sea path to watch the waders flying out to greet the mud.

In case you feel slightly uncomfortable about this picture, it is a montage of the only bird that I managed to get in focus as it flew over.

Where I went wrong was not realising that a 3.9 meter tide would come up very high and would then need to drop substantially before any mud was revealed. Thus it was that I had to wait nearly four hours after the predicted high before any birds began to emerge from the mangroves and onto the mud. Even then, they were slow to feed. To get the most from this site, may I suggest that you refer to this link which gives a very good account of what to look for and what to expect. My account here is a simple snapshot of my visit and a bit of an update.
I started at the heron and egret roost that can be found close to the main road at the entrance to the site. Pond herons were plentiful, but the two local species are almost indistinguishable. I did manage to winkle out a couple of Javan Pond-herons that had assumed their breeding plumage early. The spot marked on the map at the above link is not viewable, but Great Egrets, Little Egrets and a Black-crowned Night Heron could be seen at Google Earth ref; 13°31'15.27"N 100°39'9.50"E.

In the little village area Asian Koels, Oriental Magpie Robins and Chestnut Munias were quickly seen.

Back by the pier, the tide was seeping up onto the promenade and Dr Seuss Fish that seemed to dislike the water, found relief from the wet by crawling up onto rocks and floating debris.

As you look at the pier, you will notice a pair of metal gates that lead from the Visitor Centre into the mangroves on the left. A path runs parallel to the shoreline from here and the roosting ponds are very close by. Turn left and you will quickly come to a two-storey hide that gives good views of thousands of birds which have been driven inland by the rising tide. I estimated about 2500 Black-tailed Godwits and 500 Brown-headed Gulls. Other species seen in smaller numbers included Common Redshank, Marsh Sandpiper and Pacific Golden Plover. I was surprised not to see any ‘peeps’ or Charadrius plovers.

Most of the birds were crowded onto the bare earth of the roosts, but a few Common Greenshank, Black-winged Stilt and Wood Sandpiper poked around in a bit of open water just in front of the hide.
I followed the path further into the mangroves and found that the other hides and screens had been allowed to fall into disrepair. A fleeting glimpse was had of a few Common Ioras and a Plaintive Cuckoo flew across the path and stopped to look back at me. A ditch had attracted some Great Egrets and three Painted Storks.

The best find in the mangroves was the canopy walk. The mangrove canopy is not actually very high, but the raised walkway put me level with the Golden-bellied Gerygone which had been wheezing at me all morning. The walkway is not mentioned at, nor is it shown on the Google Earth picture which needs updating. Follow the path through the mangroves and you will find it easily enough.

The walkway leads out onto the sea path and back along the shoreline. A hide has been built out from the shore at Google Earth ref; 13°30'55.83"N 100°39'27.95"E. It had also seen better days and there was a bit of maintenance outstanding. It overlooks a protected zone which has been sheltered from the ravages of wave and tide by a barrier of bamboo stakes driven into the mud about 100meters from the shore. Many of the stakes have been lost to the tidal action and float in a matt against the artificial, rocky shoreline. Common Sandpipers find good pickings amongst them.

I assume that the barrier has been put in place to provide conducive growing conditions for the mangrove which has extended its reach along the shoreline in both directions. Since the Google Earth picture was taken, the areas behind the barriers on both sides of the pier have almost filled up with mangroves.

 At last the mud began to show. Three Pacific Golden Plover and two Common Redshank came down and just stood, looking at each other. A few Little Egrets and pond herons chased fish and crabs while a Black-capped Kingfisher swooped down to pick something from the surface of the mud. Eventually more plovers and redshanks flew out from the mangroves and with the benefit of more pairs of eyes, began to feed. A few Eurasian Curlew showed up at the same time as a large flock of Brown-headed Gulls. They were followed by Common Greenshank, but still there was no sign of the Bar-tailed Godwit.

I reckoned that the small area un-colonised by mangroves would not be big enough to accommodate the godwits and that they would probably wait until the tide receded beyond the barriers and then come out to feed on the huge expanses of mud that would be available to them at low tide. I headed for the pier as the first of the godwits began to fly out from the sanctuary of the mangroves. By the time I reached the pier, they were streaming out in small flocks and the open areas of mud quickly filled with gulls and godwits.

Whiskered Gulls tried to compete with the brown-headed Gulls for the affections of the laridophiles that come to the pier to feed them. A small stand sells revolting things that the gulls and terns appear to find irresistible. This was nearly four hours after the predicted time of high tide and I could easily have taken a couple of golden early morning hours at Muang Boran on the way here without missing anything.
Birds seen; 41
Painted Stork 3, Indian Cormorant 30, Little Cormorant 1, Grey Heron 3, Great Egret 25, Little Egret 20, Javan Pond-heron2, Black-crowned Night-heron 1, Pacific Golden Plover 40 Black-winged Stilt 60, Common Sandpiper 6, Common Greenshank 15, Marsh Sandpiper 35, Wood Sandpiper 8, Common Redshank 35, Eurasian Curlew 7, Black-tailed Godwit 2500, Brown-headed Gull 2000, Whiskered Tern 120, Common Tern 1, Spotted Dove 2, Zebra Dove 4, Plaintive Cuckoo 1, Asian Koel 5, German’s Swiftlet 20, Black-capped Kingfisher 4, Collared Kingfisher 1, Golden-bellied Gerygone 4, Common Iora 3, Brown Shrike 1, Pied Fantail 20, Barn Swallow 20, Yellow-vented Bulbul 3, Streak-eared Bulbul 10, Common Tailorbird 5, Plain Prinia 4, Oriental Magpie Robin 12, Great Myna 10, Common Myna 2, Eurasian Tree Sparrow 15, Chestnut Munia 6

For a previous post from Bang Pu Mai, follow the link below;

Visit the dedicated Oriental page for more from Thailand, including; Lumphini Park and Pak Thale

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Muang Boran Fish Ponds, Bangkok, Feb2013

Muang Boran is an area of fishponds. It is close to the Ancient City which, just to cause confusion, is also called Muang Boran. In common with taxi drivers everywhere, mine obtusely misunderstood me and took me to the Ancient City. Twice. Even with a map he showed no local knowledge. My goal was just 1 mile from the taxi rank, but I had to direct him myself. If you go there, please ensure that you know how to get to the fish ponds from the motorcycle taxi rank. See the end of the post for directions.

The first pond is directly ahead as you cross the little bridge once you arrive. It held plenty of birds this morning, but unfortunately looked directly into the sun as it rose above the chemical factories. Cotton Pygmy Geese cackled as they sought a safe distance from the bank. 

Pheasant-tailed Jacanas and Bronze Jacanas, ticked and grunted. Using the scope I found a Common Kingfisher, Little Egret, Indian Cormorants and various pond herons. The Ardeola species here are so similar that it is extremely difficult to tell them apart if they are not sporting their breeding colours. They are both very common at this time of year.

To my left were a ditch and a few scrubby trees. Streak-eared Bulbuls, Pied Fantails and a Brown Shrike were found here. One of my target birds for the day, a Striated Grassbird called from the top of some reeds. Close by was a female cuckoo that I took to be a Plaintive Cuckoo on account of a nearby male.
Yellow-bellied Prinia
Acrocephala warblers are said to be abundant here, but every time that I managed to get a decent focus on anything in the reeds, it turned out to be a Plain Prinia or a Zitting Cisticola.

Only when searching the reedbeds for rails, crakes and bitterns did I eventually come across Black-browed Warblers, another target species for the day. White-browed Crakes were easy to find again. I was hoping for a Baillon’s Crake, but settled for a Ruddy-breasted Crake in its absence.

I misread my map and went slightly off my intended route. Retrospectively, I was pleased to be in the wrong place at the right time when a Monocled Cobra swam across an open ditch ahead of me. I had to move quickly to catch up with it. It may have been intending to cross the bund that I was walking along, but once it saw me, it disappeared into the grass to the side of the path. Actually, ‘path’ is a poor word to use to describe the overgrown raised barrier between two ponds. The wet grass was up to my knees with reeds and rank vegetation on either side. Now that I had seen a cobra, I felt the need to brush my tripod through the grass ahead of me as I walked heavily along. A second cobra made me jump as I came within two or three steps of it. It made a frantic dash towards a hole into which it disappeared like a piece of spaghetti being shlurped up.

There had been plenty of birds to see up until now, but in ponds 8 and 9, the numbers increased dramatically. A big flock of Lesser Whistling Ducks took to the air from the roosting area at Pond 8. There were many other birds there including Asian Openbill Storks and Indian Cormorants. I should have taken more time to check it over, but the heat was starting to get to me and I preferred to move on. I was back on the main paths now and they are well cut and maintained.

From a shady spot beneath a small acacia tree, I watched large numbers of Cattle Egrets, Intermediate Egrets and Great Egrets instead. The heat was becoming intense now and I had not given myself adequate chance to acclimatise. My water had run out and I had to return to the little shop by the footbridge at the entrance. For the chance of a refrigerated drink I couldn’t object to taking a few pictures.

Birds seen; 55
Lesser Whistling Duck 500, Cotton Pygmy Goose 30, Little Grebe 40, Asian Openbill 30, Indian Cormorant 40, Little Cormorant 3, Yellow Bittern 8, Purple Heron 6, Great Egret 30, Intermediate Egret 50, Little Egret 8, Cattle Egret 400, Brahminy Kite 1, White-breasted Waterhen 6, Ruddy-breasted Crake 2, White-browed Crake 15, Eurasian Moorhen 4, Red-wattled Lapwing 6, Black-winged Stilt 30, Pheasant-tailed Jacana 15, Bronze-winged Jacana 10, Common Sandpiper 2, Green Sandpiper1, Wood Sandpiper 8, Oriental Pratincole 8, Whiskered Tern 150, Spotted Dove 8, Zebra Dove 2, Plaintive Cuckoo 3, Greater Coucal 1, German’s Swift 5, Common Kingfisher 2, Blue-tailed Bee-eater 5, Indian Roller 3, Brown Shrike 2, Long-tailed Shrike 2, Black Drongo 15, Pied Fantail 15, Large-billed Crow 2, Dusky Crag-martin 1, Barn Swallow 80, Red-rumped Swallow 1, Yellow-vented Bulbul 6, Streak-eared Bulbul 6, Black-browed Reed-Warbler 2 , Striated Grassbird 4, Zitting Cisticola 25, Yellow-bellied Prinia 5, Plain Prinia 25, Oriental Magpie Robin 2, Stonechat 5, Great Myna 10, Common Myna 10, Asian Pied Starling 20, Eurasian Tree Sparrow 30, Asian Golden Weaver 35.

For a previous post from Muang Boran, follow the link below;

Visit the dedicated Oriental page for more from Thailand, including; Lumphini Park and Pak Thale.

Use the train line to get as far south as possible. The last station headed towards the coast is called Bearing. From here, ask the taxi driver for Muang Boran (pronounced Boulan). Unless he is a keen birder himself, he will probably want to drop you at the Ancient City. A bridge crosses the river that runs alongside the road and can be seen at the Google Earth Coordinates;13°32'19.01"N 100°37'21.14"E. In fact, you need to go a further 500 meters beyond the bridge for the Ancient City. pull in just before the footbridge that crosses the dual carriageway. There is another bridge crossing the river to the left. You are very close now.
You can either continue with your taxi if you feel confident directing him, or change to a local motorcycle taxi here. Either way, you may end up having to give directions.
Cross the bridge and pass two apartment blocks on the left. Turn left after the second block. Follow the road around and you will come into a village. Take the first right and follow it around until you come to the village motorcycle taxi rank. Turn right here and the ponds are 100m ahead of you at Google Earth coordinates; 13°32'27.71"N 100°38'0.13"E. Check out Google Earth and bring a mental map with you.Nick Upton writes a great Site that has a map. You can find it at;

Friday, 15 February 2013

Ras al Khor, Dubai, Feb 2013

There are two hides as Ras al Khor that look out into the sanctuary. Having sampled both of them, I feel that the Mangrove hide (Google Earth ref; 25°11'9.19"N 55°19'45.57"E) has a wider range of species to be seen, but the Flamingo Hide (Google Earth ref; 25°11'33.75"N 55°18'44.32"E) allows closer views of the birds. The two hides open between 10.00 and 16.00. Birds can be seen from the lay-by at Mangrove without access to the hide; at Flamingo Hide it is not so easy.

To get to the Flamingo hide, it is necessary (from most of Dubai) to pass the Mangrove Hide first, so make that your first call and soak up a few species before moving on for the close up view of the Greater Flamingos at the Flamingo Hide. At Mangrove Hide today were Northern Shovelers, Eurasian Spoonbills, Western Reef Herons and Greater Spotted Eagles.

Waders included Kentish Plover, Black-tailed Godwit and a Common Snipe. Unfortunately the birds were rather distant, but the security guard in the hide provides a scope to allow visitors to view them.

Birds seen at Mangrove Hide; 16

Northern Shoveler 60, Northern Pintail 8, Green-winged Teal 4, Greater Flamingo 250, Grey Heron 3, Great Egret 4, Western Reef-Heron 15, Eurasian Spoonbill 35, Greater Spotted Eagle 4, Kentish Plover 6, Common Ringed Plover 15, Black-winged Stilt 45, Black-tailed Godwit 3, Little Stint 15, Common Snipe 1, Black-headed Gull 1

1.5 miles clock-wise around the lagoon brings you to the Flamingo Hide. The causeway reaches further out into the reserve here and the Greater Flamingos are fed just in front of the hide. They had been fed earlier and were roosting when I arrived at 11.00. The tide had peaked early this morning and was a distant memory now. Many of the wading birds had followed it out, but a few lingered within spotting scope distance. This hide also has a security guard who offers free use of his scope to anyone who would like to use it.

A single Eurasian Curlew probed the mud in good light to the north of the hide. Grey Plovers could be seen a long way off as could a couple of Common Redshank and a Terek Sandpiper. After a short while a flock of Kentish Plovers and Little Stint flew in as if they had been flushed from somewhere else.

Birds seen at Flamingo Hide;

Greater Flamingo 600, Black-bellied Plover 2, Greater Sand Plover 1, Kentish Plover 20, Common Ringed Plover 35, Terek Sandpiper 1, Common Sandpiper1, Common Greenshank 1, Common Redshank 5, Eurasian Curlew 1, Little Stint 60, Curlew Sandpiper 8, Green Bee-eater 1, Crested Lark 2.

If you want to visit both hides, you must resign yourself to a full circumnavigation of the lagoon (actually, unless you run across a six lane motorway, you are likely to have to do the best part of a circle anyway). Although it is only 1.5 miles between the two hides, the roads have central reservations and it is not possible to turn into the lay-by unless you are travelling clockwise around the lagoon. To make the full circle is about 11.5 miles. It may prove difficult to find a taxi from the hide back to the city, so if you arrive by cab, ask him to wait. The only other option is to use a private car.

Visit the dedicated Middle East page for more posts from Dubai, including; Mushrif Park and Safa Park.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Mushrif Park, Dubai, Feb 2013

Readers of this blog, intelligent people obviously, will already be aware of the advantages and pleasures of early mornings, but just in case you need a graphic example to encourage you from your beds, these pictures of the Burj al Khalifa were taken just 2 hours apart!

Mushrif Park carries a UAE Dirhams 10 entrance charge for cars. It only costs 3 Dirhams for pedestrians, so the small area to the left of the entrance booth was busy with parked cars this morning (Google Earth ref; 25°13'28.23"N 55°27'8.09"E). Members are allowed early entrance, but the rest of us had to wait until 08.00. Most of the other people waiting to get in were joggers and warmed up in the small car park while I wandered about in the scrub picking out the expected White-eared Bulbuls, Red-vented Bulbuls and Purple Sunbird.

Two Eurasian Hoopoes were interacting in a fascinating encounter. Bills locked, their barred wings whirred in a strange optical effect as they rose together into the air. I think that they were both males and that a third bird was possibly a female, so this was possibly a display or an aggressive encounter? If anyone has any thoughts, I would be interested to hear them.

Once 8 o’clock came, I drove into the park and took the anticlockwise route that starts at a right hand turn shortly after the entrance. The route describes a circle of about 2.5 miles circumference along a one-way paved road. Grey Francolins were calling and an Indian Roller narrowly escaped having his picture taken. The rollers were seen throughout the morning, but expertly eluded me each time.

The most obvious bird in the park, both visibly and aurally were the doves, especially the Eurasian Collared Dove. Their numbers were augmented by Laughing Doves that added to the surround sound of the morning (thanks again to Xeno-canto for use of their sound archives and facilities).  Occasionally they would be joined by a Rose-ringed Parakeet.

The park is popular with picnickers in the evenings and small car parks and barbeque facilities are provided at regular intervals. I stopped at one such car park to chase a potential Arabian Babbler. A large brown bird had flown up into a tree as I approached, but I could not find it again, so turned my attention to the Pallid Swifts instead. Having taken about 200 shots at the swifts, I eventually got one that I liked.

I had been surprised to see a Eurasian Marsh Harrier earlier in the day and was able to return the favour by shocking the bird as it came low over the trees nearby. It panicked when it saw me and nearly stalled in mid-air as it tried to stop and turn around.

There is a road that cuts back to the centre of the circle. It is sign-posted to the equestrian centre and comes out by the mosque, adjacent to the grassy area where the Pallid Scops Owl may sometimes be seen at dusk. I had popped in quickly on the previous evening, but neither saw nor heard the owl. Nor have I seen any evidence or reports that the owl is still seen here regularly. I must follow that up.

Birds seen;
Grey Francoln 8, Eurasian Marsh Harrier 1, Shikra 2, Red-wattled Lapwing 4, Eurasian Collared Dove 400, Laughing Dove 60, Rose-ringed Parakeet 15, Pallid Swift 4, Green Bee-eater 3, Eurasian Hoopoe 8, Southern Grey Shrike 1, Red-vented Bulbul 25, White–eared Bulbul 80, Black Redstart 2, Purple Sunbird 3, House Sparrow 120.

Visit the dedicated Middle East page for more posts from Dubai, including; Ras al Khor  and SafaPark.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Pivot Field, Dubai, Feb 2013

The Pivot Field is an area of turf and rougher grassland watered by a huge circular sprinkler (the pivot). There are two ‘crop circles’, the larger of which is about half a mile across. They can be seen on Google Earth by cutting and pasting these coordinates into the search box; 25°10'3.11"N 55°26'9.45"E. From the car park birders are welcome to walk out onto the circles, but cars may not be taken beyond the car park. 

I started on the turf field on the west side. Sprinkler heads here provided perfect hawking posts for Green Bee-eaters which would swoop down on unsuspecting insects. The short grass also appealed to the Motacilla species with White Wagtail, Citrine Wagtail and Yellow Wagtail all seen here.

Close to the car park, a wide trench had collected some water and had attracted a few birds. A Common Snipe, a Common Ringed Plover and a few Black-headed Gulls were seen here on the first pass and four Green Sandpipers were found on the way back.

I am assuming that the irrigated circles have a dynamic life with sowing, growing and cropping occurring on different parts of the circle throughout the year depending on the seasonality of crops. For the most part, it seemed to be taken up with the growing of grass at this time of year. The Polo Club is just next door and I guess they need hay? This week there were four cuts of grass and each provided a haven for different birds.

The Isabelline Wheatear appeared to like the short, fine turf whereas the doves seemed to like the freshly cut grass that had been left out to dry.

Crested Larks could be seen dashing about in the rough grass looking for food. Occasionally one would sing from a prominent perch on one of the vegetation heaps at the edge of the crop circle.

I didn’t get a chance to get as far as the long grass. Something had caught my eye and I didn’t want to disturb it. Sociable Lapwings are often reported from here and this was a bird that I had wanted to see for a long time. Red-wattled Lapwings stood out with their contrasting head pattern, but there was one bird amongst them that had a more demure head pattern. I used the scope to check and was delighted to see that it was indeed a Sociable Lapwing and that there were two others with it.

This species is critically endangered and underwent a rapid decline in population during the twentieth century. I didn’t want to disturb it so kept a reasonable distance from it, but was pleased when it came closer and I was able to get a few shots.
Birds seen;
Eurasian Marsh Harrier 3, Eurasian Kestrel 1, Red-wattled Lapwing 30, White-tailed Lapwing 1, Sociable Lapwing 3, European Golden Plover 1, Common Ringed Plover 1, Green Sandpiper 4, Common Snipe 1, Black-headed Gull 60, Eurasian Collared Dove 120, Laughing Dove 25, Rose-ringed Parakeet 1, Green Bee-eater 3, Eurasian Hoopoe 1, Crested Lark 25, White-eared Bulbul 8, Isabelline Wheatear 1, Western Yellow Wagtail 1, Citrine Wagtail 3, White Wagtail 40, House Sparrow 50
Visit the dedicated Middle East page for more posts from Dubai including Ras al Khor and Safa Park

In case you might be tempted by a side trip to the nearby Warsan Lakes (see below), you may find that any time you have would be better spent by staying at Pivot Field.
Google Earth is a wonderful tool for anyone who wants to explore an unfamiliar place. It can even give a fresh perspective to somewhere that you think you know. It is not perfect however; nearly, but not quite. It does not show the wall at Warsan Lakes for example. It shows the perimeter road, entrance and car park, but failed to mention that access is no longer possible due to the entrance being blocked and an eight foot wall around the entire complex. It was a disappointment as I had pictured myself driving lazily around the lakes, watching grebes, ducks and reed warblers. There is a tiny gap in the wall at Google Earth ref; 25° 9'33.24"N 55°25'13.23"E, but it does not give an adequate view.

But… on one of the roundabouts was a flock of White-tailed Lapwings. This is a bird that I can never see enough of. I twitched one at Dungeness once and now I was looking at a flock of 16 of them. Traffic was light so it was possible to stand on the pavement and shoot across the road, but shortly, a couple of pedestrians disturbed the birds by crossing the roundabout and putting them to flight.

A few birds had flown up from the lakes, but I suspect that there were fewer birds in there than I had pictured ahead of time.

A Eurasian Marsh Harrier made a pass and found a column of air to gain height from.

Birds seen; 15

Mallard 3, Little Grebe 2, Great Cormorant 23, Grey Heron 2, Purple Heron 2, Eurasian Marsh Harrier 3, White-tailed Lapwing 16, Black-headed Gull 12, Eurasian Collared Dove 60, Laughing Dove 20, Crested Lark 1, White-eared Bulbul 6, Graceful Prinia 8, White-Wagtail 4, House Sparrow 40.