Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Safa Park, Dubai, 2012

The heat in Dubai was intense and I was unable to reach Safa Park before 10.00 when the sun was already very high and casting short shadows. On a fiercely hot Sunday morning, nobody was seen in the park and none of the refreshment stalls were open. Bring your own water. Most of the birds had sensibly tucked themselves away in the shade and gone quiet.

Hoopoes could still be seen picking in the lawns and tossing their prey up to catch it in their long decurved bills. Beautiful flame-flowered trees line the paths, but they looked washed out in the harsh sunlight.


A pair of Asian Pied Starlings, an introduced species, had made a messy nest from grasses and kite strings in one of the flame-flowered trees that line the paths. I was heading towards the waterfall in the centre of the park. This had proved to be a productive area on my previous visits.


Acacia-type trees here held Purple Sunbirds and some White-eared Bulbuls. It was a relief to be out of the sun for a short while, but the dragonflies quickly tempted me back out into the light. This one above, I think is a Green Skimmer, Orthetrum Sabina.


I base my guess on field guides of surrounding areas, but if anyone knows of similar odes to be found in the Middle East, I would be pleased to hear from them. The individual sitting out on the lawns is probably a Violet Dropwing, Trithemis annulata.


A Spotted Flycatcher gave me cause to look twice. It appeared to have an outsize bill and a very big eye. Again, I would be pleased if anyone can tell me a little more about it.

I was unable to narrow this one down to a species. I take it to be a reed warbler. It was seen a couple of times in the acacia trees near the waterfall


Don’t be tempted to catch the bus from the train station to speed things up. It may save a few minutes walking, but it drops you at the top end of the park, then you have to cross a main road and back-track to the gate. The few moments saved were lost by the bus waiting for 10 minutes before departing.

Crested Lark

Birds seen; 21
Mallard 3, Red Wattled Lapwing 15, Black-headed Gull 30, Eurasian Collared Dove 25, Laughing Dove 6, Rose-ringed Parakeet 4, Pallid Swift 4, Green Bee-eater 2, Indian Roller 4, Eurasian Hoopoe 12, House Crow 80, Crested Lark 3, Red-vented Bulbul 8, White-eared Bulbul 3, Graceful Prinia 2, Spotted Flycatcher 1, Common Myna 120, Asian Pied Starling 4, Purple Sunbird 12, House Sparrow 30, Nutmeg Mannikin 4.


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