21 August 2012

Abu Ali Island - Location Details

Abu Ali Island is situated close to Jubail Industrial City 125 kilometres north of the Dammam/Al Khobar/Dhahran area. This site is in the Arabian Gulf northeast of Jubail, and covers an area of approximately 12,500 hectares. It consists of two long, flat islands, Batima and Abu Ali, the north and west coasts of which were affected severely by the 1991 Gulf oil spill. Both islands are close to shore and connected to the mainland by causeways with access restricted, owing to the presence of an important oil and military installation. Sand and sabkha dominate the terrestrial habitats with the sandy central areas of the islands becoming well vegetated with grasses and herbs following winter rains. The northern shores are exposed with the more sheltered southern shores having inter-tidal mud-flats and sand-flats, surrounded by saltmarshes. Comparatively small numbers of White-cheeked Tern Sterna repressa (120-150 pairs) and a few (c.10 pairs) Saunders' Tern Sterna saundersi and Little Tern Sterna albifirns breed on the islands. Many terns congregate to moult on these islands after the breeding season; approximately 14,000 Saunders' Tern/Little Terns, in excess of 8,000 White-cheeked Terns in September, 2,000-3,000 Sandwich Terns S. sandvicensis and nearly 5,000 Lesser Crested Terns S. bengalensis. Additionally, up to 8,000 Great Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo winter around the islands. A maximum of 135 Crab Plovers Dromas ardeola has been recorded passing through the site on migration.

 Specialties occurring at the location include:-

Black-neced Grebe
Great Crested Grebe
Black (eared) Kite
Slender-billed Gull
Greater Flamingo
Indian Reef Egret
Lesser Crested Tern
White-cheeked Tern
Suanders Tern
Little Tern
Grey Plover
Lesser Sand Plover
Greater Sand Plover
Kentish Plover
Bar-tailed Godwit
Eurasian Curlew
Terek Sandpiper
Common Redshank
Common Greenshank
Ruddy Turnstone
Eurasian Oystercatcher
Crab Plover
Greater Hoopoe Lark