Wilson’s phalarope in Arabia

This video is called Female Wilson’s Phalaropes feeding.

This is a National Geographic video on the dugong and the environment in the United Arab Emirates.

From The Gulf Today in Dubai:

Rare bird in Abu Dhabi


Abu Dhabi: Last month, a new bird species was discovered at Abu Dhabi’s Al Wathba Wetland Reserve. Wilson’s Phalarope, Steganopus tricolor, a small wader, is the first ever record of this species in the United Arab Emirates. This is a remarkable new find because this bird is generally found only in the America.

The species has only been recorded on four previous occasions in the Middle East, in Oman (twice) and in Turkey (twice in the 1980s). The species is well known for its far-flung wanderings, and is recorded annually in western Europe in autumn. It has also reached the Falkland Islands, southern Australia and even Antarctica.

The species feeds either by swimming in shallow water, frequently spinning in circles as it does, or by walking along the shoreline. Both methods were observed at Al Wathba, and the bird was seen to stalk floating insect prey and then seize it with a sudden stab of its long, very fine bill. Given that there is little other suitable habitat in the area, EAD experts believe it may remain in the vicinity for some time, feeding up before it departs northwards.

This 5 km area, which was declared a protected area upon the orders of the late UAE president Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan in 1998, has long been recognised as one of the most important sites for birds in the UAE. Visited by thousands of migrants every winter, including waders, ducks and birds of prey, it is also the site of the UAE’s first breeding colony of the charismatic Greater Flamingo, Phoenicopterus roseus. For years, the Reserve has been attracting the attention of scientists and birdwatchers that are keen to study both common species and rarer visitors.

Once formal descriptions and photographs of the Wilson’s Phalarope have been assessed by the EBRC, it will become the 435th wild species on the official UAE Bird List, maintained by the EBRC in association with EAD.

“This new record is a welcome addition to the growing list of birds in the UAE and once again highlights the importance of reserves for migratory birds,” said Majid Al Mansouri, Secretary General of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi.

“The presence of three flamingos, two tagged in lake Tuzla of Turkey in 2007 and and one at Lake Uromiyeh in Iran in 1989 also highlights the importance of Al Wathba for the flamingos and other waterbirds. This clearly shows the importance of Al Wathba as a migratory stopover for many birds. Continued protection of a network of such coastal and inland wetlands sites is critical for the conservation of waterbirds and wetland biodiversity and also in attracting new species such as the Wilson’s Phalarope,” said Dr Salim Javed, Deputy Manager, Bird Conservation at EAD and Manager of Al Wathba Wetland Reserve.

The ornithological importance of the UAE has been nicely illustrated in the UAE Interact. At any one time during migration periods (July – November and April – May) probably in excess of 250,000 waders are present on intertidal areas of the country’s Gulf coast. Taking into account the likely turnover of shorebirds on this Eurasian/West Asian – Arabian Gulf – African flyway, the mudflats of the southern Gulf probably support several million individuals over the course of a year. The current UAE population of Socotra cormorants is around 200,000, which is about 15-33 per cent of the estimated total world population. Individual sites are regionally important for wader species, namely Abu al Abyadh for its crab plover Dromas ardeola colony and migratory populations of lesser sand plover Charadrius mongolus, Kentish plover Charadrius alexandrinus and grey plover Pluvialis squatarola, Khor Dubai for its high densities of Kentish plover, greater sand plover Charadrius leschenaultii, lesser sand plover and broad-billed sandpiper Limicola falcinellus and Khor al Beidah for its large wintering population of crab plover and parties of up to 90 wintering great knot Calidris tenuirostris. The summer population of crab plover is estimated at over 1,200 shared between Abu al Abyadh and another colony on the island of Umm Amim, while the largest wintering population of over 500 birds is at Khor al Beidah.

Red-necked Phalarope breaks longevity record: here.

June 2010: The Greater Flamingo has been found to be the most abundant bird species in the UAE, according to a recent census of waterbirds. More than 15,000 of the birds were recorded from 15 sites: here.

Britain: Ravens ‘not behind’ wader decline: here.

4 thoughts on “Wilson’s phalarope in Arabia

  1. Winged beauties of Qatar ensnare wildlife lovers

    Web posted at: 2/27/2010 8:20:45

    Source ::: THE PENINSULA


    DOHA: Doha resident Dileep Anthikad who recently put Qatar in the global avian photography map is featured in the ‘Wings of Qatar: Of Feathers and Frames’ photography exhibition which opened yesterday at the Hyatt Plaza mall.

    Organized by Doha Koottam (DK), a group of amateur photographers committed to propagating the importance of environment protection, the three-day photo expo was officially inaugurated by Nadia Al Mudhaki, Director of Visual Art Centre.

    Dileep’s photo of a Greater Spotted Eagle with its reflection on the calm shallow waters of Abu Nakhla lagoon was recognized internationally as one of the top five photos for 2009 out of 39, 387 entries by UK-based BirdGuides.

    “Capturing this stunning raptor and its reflection in a uniform setting in golden light, then making the most of his shot with good subject placement in a square crop, Dileep has created an aesthetic and memorable image,” said Mike Atkinson, one of the jury members.

    Expressing happiness of the recent honour, Dileep said it was an achievement not just for himself but Qatar as well.

    “Many people think that Qatar is nothing but a desert, in fact it is rich in natural wonders including birds of exceptional beauty,” said Dileep adding that more than the recognition is the opportunity for the world to know the Qatari environment better.

    The exhibition teems with around 40 of Dileep’s photos along with 50 others by 11 guest cast showcasing the avian riches of the country.

    “My aim is to capture species in their best form and let people know about them WHICH hopefully could lead to protecting them,” he said.

    Dileep wants to take his concern for environment to another level with a plan to publish a book on Birds in Qatar to make the future generation know about how rich Qatar is in terms of avian species.

    “Qatar is a very important migration point of birds coming from other countries and there are a number of places here that need protection,” said Gavin Farnell, DK and Qatar Bird Club member and ornithologist. Taking interest in avian photography six years ago, Farnell has been an advocate of environment protection back in the UK.

    “Photography is the core area that unites DK and taking photos of nature and exhibiting them for people to appreciate especially during Qatar’s Environment Day celebrations is one of the important events of the group,” explained Noushad Ahmed, DK media manager.

    Ahmed said ‘Wings of Qatar’ follows the success of their EnVision (Environment Vision) exhibition last year which showcased the unseen beauty of Qatar’s natural environment.

    “Many people including nationals were surprised to know that there are many beautiful places in the country which are still unexplored and needed to be taken care of,” he added.

    The exhibition is open to the public until tomorrow from 10am to 10pm.



  2. Pingback: UAE wildlife conservation news | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Abu Dhabi dugong research | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Rare birds in Spain | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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