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Natural UAE

Birds found in UAE's Gardens and Agricultural Areas

A bird-watching visit to the Emirates is not complete without touring the numerous golf courses, city parks and agricultural areas. In Abu Dhabi, a visit is recommended to Bateen Gardens and the adjacent Mushref Palace Gardens and the Khalidiyah Spit at the western end of the Corniche. In and around Dubai are Safa Park, the Creek Park, the Emirates golf course (where special permission is required to birdwatch) and the cultivations around Al Awir and Al Habab. The grass fields around Digdaga and Hamraniyah (Ras al-Khaimah), the central grassed areas of Al Wathba (Abu Dhabi) and the Al Ain camel race tracks are usually full of migrants and associated birds of prey. In addition there are a number of other sites, less known for their beauty, though teeming with birdlife. These include sewage lagoons and water treatment plants, which sometimes hold the country's greatest variety of wetland species.

Highlights include:

1. Cultivated fields around Digdaga and Hamraniyah, south of Ras al-Khaimah: for hundreds of Indian rollers and little green bee-eaters; migrant birds of prey including imperial eagle Aquila heliaca ; booted eagle Hieraaetus fasciatus ; both pallid and Montagu's harrier Circus macrourus and C.pygargus ; large number of lesser kestrels Falco naumanni feeding on larvae of the large convolvulus hawk-moth Agrius convolvuli . Breeders here include spanish sparrows Passer hispaniolensis (largest flock of over 300 recorded in March 1995); European rollersCoracias garrulus , bank mynahs Acridotheres ginginianus .

>2. The camel race tracks at Al Ain and Al Wathba for larks, pipits, wheatears and other tired and hungry migrants. The rare specialities found here from October to February include bimaculated lark Melanocorypha bimaculata, oriental skylark Alauda gulgula and Blyth's pipit Anthus godlewski . Between 08.00h and 09.30h throughout the year flocks of up to 200 chestnut-bellied sandgrouse arrive and by mid morning from September to March half-a-dozen pallid and Montagu's harriers are often seen foraging over the fields. Small groups of cream-coloured coursers Cursorius cursor are attracted to the Al Ain camel track in autumn and winter while Caspian plover Charadrius asiaticus and long-toed stint Calidris subminuta can occur between August and October. Since 1993 the nearby plantations at Al Wathba have regularly attracted small groups of hypocolius Hypocolius ampelinus in November and March.

3. Mushrif National Park for striated (Bruce's) scops owl.

4. Qarn Nazwa for desert eagle owls Bubo bubo (ascalaphus )

5. Parks and gardens of Abu Dhabi and Dubai for oriental pratincole Glareola maldivarum , pintail snipe Gallinago stenura, lesser noddy Anous tenuirostris , white-throated bee-eater Merops albicollis, forest wagtail Dendronanthus indicus , dusky & radde's warbler Phylloscopus fuscatus and P.schwarzi and white-capped bunting Emberiza stewarti .

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