I was sent to Dubai twice in 2019. The first time late March was
planned and I had binoculars with me but never left the harbour area.
The second visit was 03-17th May, this time unplanned and without
binoculars but I did get some offshore time......
The trip in late March produced little in the way of birds with a few
Pallas's Gulls in the harbour being the best sighting. Other than these
it was just Black-headed Gulls and House Crows.
Pallas's Gull, Dubai, March 2019
Picture taken with a superzoom
I returned in May but this trip was not exactly planned for and as such
I had no luggage, no binoculars and no DSLR. Equipped only with eyes
and a "point and pray" superzoom I had to make the best out of the few
chances I got to look at any birds....
For the first few days I was stuck in a hotel but one morning I took 20
minutes free to walk around the block. This produced a selection of the
commonest birds in the area, White-eared Bulbul, Graceful Prinia,
Common Mynah, Red-wattled Lapwing, House Sparrow, Indian Silverbill,
Laughing Dove, Collared Dove and House Crows were the species I managed
to identify here. Some flocks of swifts went unidentified.
Red-wattled Lapwing, Dubai, May 2019
This pair had well grown young they had reared on a roundabout on a
very busy road near Port Rashid
White-eared Bulbul, Dubai, May 2019
Graceful Prinia were common along the roadside close to my hotel
Part of the Dubai
skyline, taken from a crewboat on the way out to the vessel.
in the Persian Gulf
Migrant Marsh Warbler feeding on deck, Persian Gulf, May 2019
Sunset in the
Dubai, May 2019
Bridled Tern, Persian Gulf, May 2019
A six hour transit in a small boat out to the vessel I was joining
produced several Bridled Tern and a few Greater Crested Terns.
Once offshore I was, as so often the case, stuck inside. Towards the
end of the trip I had some opportunities to pop out on deck. There was
almost always a passerine on deck feeding on the huge number of
grounded insects. The only species I managed to identify were Willow
Warbler, Marsh Warbler and a Yellow Wagtail (the latter as I left the
Once night I went out on deck for a breath of fresh air and was
rewarded with several Sooty Gulls feeding around the vessel - no doubt
attracted to the small fish and other creatures attracted by our lights.
Seabirds were generally limited to small feeding parties of Greater
Crested Terns and Bridled Terns. However, on one occasion a group of
well over 200 Greater Crested Terns rested on the hose of a loading
buoy, among them were several Lesser Crested Terns and a few Cormorants
were knocking about.
The way home was once again in a small boat. This time I was not
hunched over a laptop and manged to see two migratingLong-tailed Skua,
two Barn Swallows and quite a few
more Bridled Terns and Greater Crested Terns.
Greater Crested Terns with two Lesser Crested Terns (front centre)
resting on a loading hose offshore in the Persian Gulf, May 2019
Just one of several grasshoppers that turned up on deck on an oilfield
in the Persian Gulf, May 2019
Cicada onboard - well offshore
Insects were very common in the Persian Gulf - so there was plenty of
food for any stranded migrant birds
Charging a dead camera battery
As the trip was so
unplanned I did not even have the charger for my camera battery with
me. I did, however, have access to a few helpful bits and pieces which
meant I managed to charge the battery without this essential bit of
gear. Not the first time I've had to do something like this
Rashid on our way home....
A few present
on Rashid Field 16-17 May 2019
Breeding on a
roundabout near Port Rashid 04-06 May 2019
adults seen 17 May (between Rashid Field and
Rashid, 25-26 March 2019
feeding at night on the Rashid Field, 11 May 2019
A couple seen
in Port Rashid 25-26 March 2019
seen offshore (up to several per day)
tern in May 2019. Observed daily offshore with a maximum of ca 200 on
Rashid field 17 May
seen in May 2019 on Rashid Field. Several birds present on 17 May