Spoonbills are one of my favourite birds. Comical but elegant they spend most of their time asleep with heads tucked under wings but here are some feeding at Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary in Dubai.


A Day At The Races

Camel racing is big business in Dubai. We were up well before dawn to see the first 5 mile race at 7 o'clock at the Dubai Camel Racing Club. 

Since accusations of human rights abuse the UAE has stopped using young Pakistani boys as jockeys. They now use robots... complete with remote controlled whips and even little jockey caps.

They're under starters orders...

And they're off!!!

Five miles later.

Osprey in Dubai

Ospreys can be found all year round in the United Arab Emirates, this obliging adult bird sat in the early morning sunshine beside a lake at Al Qudra just outside Dubai. It then flew off over the lake and came back with a fish. I was so close I had to take the multiplier off my 600mm lens to fit it in the frame!

Variable wheatear

I tried out my new Canon 600mm f4 lens today at WAMM Farms near Dibba on the east coast of the UAE. It was far too hot to lug around this bazooka sized lens so using the car as a hide I drive across the gravel plain where variable wheatear (Oenanthe (picata) picata) are often found in the winter months.

I'm never too sure what is variable about them, they always seem just black and white to me. I did get a few shots including one where it grabbed a praying mantis. The lens will get some getting used to but it should be good fun to use over the winter.

East Coast UAE

Every summer me and a few mates hire a fishing boat from Kalba on the east coast of the UAE. We travel out due east for about 50 miles among the rusting hulls of all the impounded oil tankers some of which have been there fifteen years, to look for seabirds and whatever else comes our way.

This year it was mainly birds, you would be surprised at the number of birds that can be found especially if there are dolphins or tuna driving the fish to the surface.

A white-cheeked tern in Kalba harbour

A white-cheeked tern in Kalba harbour

Adult bridled tern with one of this years brrod

Adult bridled tern with one of this years brrod

Persian shearwater going through it's summer moult

Persian shearwater going through it's summer moult

Here's a list of the species we saw...

  • Oystercatcher
  • Steppe gull
  • Common noddy
  • White-cheeked tern
  • Lesser crested tern
  • Great crested tern
  • Bridled tern
  • Jouanin's petrel
  • Wilson's storm petrel
  • Swinhoe's storm petrel
  • Persian shearwater
  • Flesh-footed shearwater