I boarded a plane at Newcastle Airport with the temperature at 3.5°C and got off in a warm dark Dubai at 24°C. After waking up, I opened the curtains of the hotel room to find a beautiful Laughing Dove sitting on an rooftop aerial. The list had begun, my first bird of this year's holiday was closely followed by a House Sparrow and a Black-headed Gull. I was staying at Centro by Rotana in Barshi, Dubai close to the massive Emirates Mall in the centre of the city. The artificial ski run within the mall is a massive building and as I watched the locals from the 2nd floor driving along the road, waiting for a bus or walking by there were birds to be found within this great metropolis.
I left the hotel and went to my brother's flat overlooking the Emirates Golf Course. The bird sightings continued at a fair rate of knots with 11 species seen in twenty minutes watching from the lofty heights of the 18th floor.
Common Myna, Green Bee-eater, Rose-ringed Parakeet, Collared Dove, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Indian Roller, Hoopoe, Common Swift, Grey Francolin and my first lifer species 2 Pale Crag Martins hawked insects below. What a start!
We heading to Ras La Khor, a great wetland area of International Importance for birds.
Great White Egret
Western Reef Heron
Lesser Sand Plover
Time for lunch with the list standing at 43 species.
We went to the local shopping mall for a light lunch and as we walked past a water feature within the mall a Common Bulbul appeared collecting crumbs, so another species was found.
After lunch, we went to Mushrif Park which has diverse habitats home to a wide range of birds. At this site we spotted three new species Red-vented Bulbul, Marsh Harrier, Arabian Babbler. There were 3 Arabian Babblers together and this was a new species for me.
As the day drew to a close my holiday list was 48 species with 2 new lifers.