Heading back northern along the coastline of Arabian Sea looking for our most wanted species the Crab Plover.
WADI DARBAT – TAWI ATAYR (SINK HOLE) – WADI HANNA – DROVE NOTHWARD TO ASH SHUWAYMIYYAH
We were up with lark once again and by 6am we had packed up our tents and were on our way. It was another crystal clear day and it was about 20C even at 6am! We drove back to Wadi Darbat and parked in the main car park. A large lagoon stretch for a couple kilometers both up and downstream, it was too deep and too wide to cross so we stayed on the rocky side and walked ‘upstream’.
8The thick riparian vegetation had mature trees including a fruiting fig tree, this was full of birds with over 20 Bruce’s Green Pigeon, a flock of about 15 Abyssinian White-eyes and innumerable White-spectacled Bubuls. We spent a couple of hour in and around this area making more sightings of: Bluethroat, Desert Whitethroat, Shining and Palestine Sunbirds, Blackstarts, Tristram’s Starling, African Paradise Flycatcher and we watched a Long-legged Buzzard being mobbed by Common Kestrel and Fan-tailed Ravens.
The lagoon produced Grey Heron, Common Sandpiper, 3 Greenshanks and a couple of Citrine Wagtails.
As it warmed up a few birds of prey began to appear, four birds came over together they were all eagles: two Imperial, one Short-toed and one Steppe Eagle. Earlier a Bonelli’s Eagle drifted along the ridge above us.
As we drove out of the valley we found a falcon perched on a dead tree not too far from the road, it turned out to be a Barbary Falcon, nice sighting, further along we stopped to photograph a Eurasian Hoopoe.
The ‘Sink Hole’ at Tawi Atayr was about 30 kilometers further north which too us through some scenic mountains along an empty road. We stopped to look at a few species perched on wires and bushes noting many African Rock Buntings, Desert Wheatears and lots of doves. We parked up at the ‘’Sink Hole’ car park and found an obliging Arabian Wheatear but our search for Yemen Serin failed to produce one. The ’Sink Hole’ was impressive sight it was about 200 meters in diameter and you couldn’t see the bottom, furthermore we had excellent views of an Imperial Eagle as we stood on the viewing platform. On the way back to the car park we spent some time photographing Sunbirds.
-At Wadi Hanna we a similar result as at the Sink Hole, we dipped on our target species the Yemen Serin, we did see a pair of Bonelli’s Eagles, an Arabian Warbler and the usual Rock Buntings and Bulbuls.
We then drove over 120 kilometers to our stop-over point, passing through some magical coastal scenery, beautiful mountains and lush green valleys, at several places you had to remind yourself that you were in the Middle East and not Europe. Perhaps camels on the beach brought us back to reality or the white sand and turquoise coloured sea did the trick.
A couple of stops produced some good finds, one valley held a nice pool of shallow water where we found a Red-necked Phalarope, also several waders, ducks and gulls. We arrived at Ash Shuwaymiyyah at 6pm, we quickly found a motel and went out for dinner. It appeared that the town was inhabited predominantly by Pakistanis, so we ate Pakistani food and loved it!
Tomorrow we have another long drive ahead of us as we make our way back to the north along the coast.