30 September 2021

Steppe Eagles – Ushaiqer Dump Site

The Ushaiqer dump site is at the end of a 5 km graded track that splits off from the road between the towns of Ushaiqer and Shaqra (25.326°N, 45.173°E)  and heads west (Figure 1a). The site at Ushaiqer previously received large amounts of chicken offal, which attracted the largest number of eagles ever recorded at a single site in winter 2019 with approximately 7500 birds recorded. Now, however, the dumping of food waste is no longer permitted and the eagle numbers have significantly decreased with only several hundred seen last winter. Early morning 23 September Phil Roberts and I went to the site to see if any eagles had returned. Although the date was quite early, with main migration through Saudi Arabia in October, we managed to locate up to 50 Steppe Eagles. Most birds were adults with only four first year birds seen. It will be interesting to see over the winter if birds remain at this location or move elsewhere due to lack of food. This location is also a good place to see various species of lark, and this trip we saw both Desert Lark and Greater Hoopoe-lark with a nice flock of 20+ Trumpeter Finch.  

Steppe Eagle

Steppe Eagle

Desert Lark

Greater Hoopoe-Lark