22 November 2012

Greater Hoopoe Lark - Abu Ali Island

I went on a trip to Abu Ali Island in the hope of finding Black-necked Grebes that have been seen previously in good numbers during the winter months in the area. Alas there were no grebes but a few interesting birds were seen. The island is probably one of the best places in the Eastern Province for seeing Greater Hoopoe Lark that are resident in the area and as normal I saw a number of birds whilst driving along the main road to the large pool area at the end of the island. Birds are very distinctive if they fly across the road and at one point I was able to stop the car and get a photograph of a bird, although not really showing its natural environment as it ran and stayed near to the tarmac road. Other birds seen in the scrubby desert areas of the island included Desert Wheatear, Tawny Pipits and Crested Larks. 
Greater Hoopoe Lark

 The large lake held very few birds with only a few Greater Flamingos and Slender-billed Gulls. A single Tern was present that appears to be a White-cheeked Tern in winter plumage. A scattering of waders, including Greater Sand Plover, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Dunlin and Little Stint were feeding along the dropping tide edge and Greater Cormorant and Indian Reef Heron were also present in numbers of >20. The only other bird of interest was an adult Heuglin’s Gull sitting on a small island in a large lake.
Greater Flamingos
White-cheeked Tern
White-cheeked Tern
Indian Reef Heron
Greater Sand Plover