For the last two weeks I have enjoyed Abu Dhabi’s late year temperatures. I would say ‘autumn’ but frankly every time I go it looks the same except for the the minimally variable temperatures. Its really hot mid year – Jul/Aug – and pleasantly cool in “mid-winter” dropping into the teens at night. I can live with that! The two weeks ended abruptly with a 4 hour flight to Almaty – the door on the flying tube closed on 30C and opened 4 hours later 29 degrees lower.
Although the principal reason for our visit was to for family reasons, especially to see our treasured little grand person, I had an ulterior purpose. My family bought a 3 day pass to the Etihad Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix, the final F1 event of the season, as my birthday gift.
I’m an avid sports fan – football (soccer, not that pseudo-rugby played over the pond), F1 and motor rallying (which was my sport).
The weekend was excellent, crowned by The Who live concert at the du Arena, the first of their 50 years tour – yes they started in 1964.
Damn – I remember their first hit!
Birding is always high on my list of priorities and I took advantage of 4 opportunities. The first on Wednesday before the race weekend was to a favourite place of mine in the mangroves alongside the main road leading to the Corniche – I can’t remember what it’s called. It is close to what I think of as the pineapple buildings although others think of them as Corn lookalikes.
It is a haven in the hubbub of the city and road noise is a bit of a pain.
I have been visiting this site for a few years now, and walk from the park westwards from the Dolphin Fountains through the plantation and mangroves. Last time I visited in March this year, construction work had started although I could circumvent it on the water side and walk for a few hundred metres as far as a small creek and large fence.
This visit however, construction had expanded and access was limited to about 35 metres. Everything else seemed fenced off and so I gave up on it after an hour or so.
I didn’t have map or SatNav so meandered around for a while looking for a suitable site elsewhere around the city, navigating the confusion of roads and repeatedly temporarily losing myself. Eventually I discovered a small park near the old Maqta Bridge. It wasn’t great either so I stayed for a while and then headed home. She-who-must-be-obeyed was keen for my company – or did she simply need help with baby-sitting and a shopping trip?
So not a great morning but we planned a BBQ visit to a park near the airport before racing started on Saturday and that is always a good site for birding.
I discovered the following birds on this short trip:
Purple Sunbird – in non-breeding plumage
Park and roadside
Western Reef Heron (Dark)