Thursday, 13 December 2012


I’m sacking off now. International duty calls for the next three weeks so I have to throw the towel in early. Very reluctantly as you can imagine. Normally we’d have another week to run but they decided that a two week holiday wasn’t enough this Christmas so off we go. No flourishing finale, but a nice full circle loop with two Buff-bellied Pipits showing very nicely at Emirate’s Palace tonight bringing us right back to where we pretty much started on January 10th. Presumably the same birds and easy to find with only 3 Water Pips to hide amongst. Winter birding out here can be pretty much like that –just two shrikes today, but one was Masked, two Phyllos but one being Hume’s and a glimpse of the same Robin despite, still, a near general dearth of Song Thrush or Black Redstarts. A last desperate attempt was made for Starling yesterday to no avail and a hazy, distant glimpse of a presumed Spotted Eagle a few weeks back is now fully consigned to the gruelling near-miss bin, along with that feckin’ Dusky Warbler. Pacific Golden Plover, Glossy Ibis, Egyptian Nightjar, Streaked Weaver, Wood and Garden Warblers complete the list of targets not found, with the former letting me down for, I think, the first year ever. All the rest are fairly unreliable, presumably especially when you really need them and, anyway, there were plenty of stand-ins, including seven new birds on the island for me to take their place. Mind you, I guess it was my stupid fault not deviate off wheatear alley for 400m one afternoon back in March for Steve’s Pale Rockfinches. Good luck Nick; by my back-of-an-envelope calculation you need 172 to call this a tie. Would be a fitting ending, but I then guess we could then go with % self-found if you want to split hairs at the end. To save you reading through the whole blog again, my deficiencies are Robin and Blyth’s and Olive-backed Pipits (98.5%) which we could weigh up against your moral victory anyway…

Simon, don’t be telling us that this gives you an idea for next year…

Final total- 196 (109%)
Last additions – Olive-backed Pipit (23rd November), Eurasian Scops-Owl (28th November) and Eurasian Wigeon (5th December)

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