Monday 2 November 2009

31 October – Birding the lagoons

Ulf and Niklas scanned the sea from the hotel roof an hour before breakfast. They recorded Flesh-footed (1) and Persian Shearwater, Jouanin’s Petrel (5), Sooty Gulls and terns. In Hadibo we found a Black Kite, which is vagrant to the island.

A stop at the Serhin lagoon produced lots of shorebirds and a White-winged Black Tern, but nothing exceptional. We drove eastwards to the Qaria Lagoon, which is a protected area and an important breeding site for Kentish Plover. Here we saw a Marsh Harrier, another vagrant. The numbers of shorebirds were not as high as in Serhin, but we recorded Lesser and Greater Sand Plover and five species of herons.

We spent an hour at Socotra Folk Museum. Ahmed told us about Socotras history and showed us a vast numbers of photos from the sixties. Much seem to has changed since then.

At noon we reached Hala with its spring water and beautiful landscape. The area was mountainous with sand dunes while the little spring water and its streams were green and lushy, like a micro oasis. Here we found two juvenile Indian Pond Herons, Common Snipe, Yellow Wagtail and a vagrant Tree Pipit. Imagine these birds remarkable long journey and finally ending up in a little spring water pond in Socotra!

On our way back to Hadibo we made a stop for seawatching and there we soon spotted a huge whale not far from shore. The blows were big, but only a few metres high, and the dorsal fin were triangular, which pointed to Humpback Whale. It travelled slowly westwards along the coastline and suddenly we discovered a calf alongside the mother. They disappeared now and then. And without notice the mother whale breached. What a sight! Impossible to describe by words! Later on the calf breached too! Everyone was soooo happy.

After these marvellous sightings we went back to our hotel for another fish dinner.

Ulf seawatching from the hotel roof. Photo: Niklas
A vagrant Black Kite in Hadibo. Photo: Ulf Ståhle.
Alf and a huge Desert Rose. Photo: Niklas
A sand dune shaped by the monsun in the eastern part. Photo: Niklas
Birders at the spring water at Hala and dunes in background. Photo: Niklas
Juvenile Indian Pond Heron at Hala. Photo: Ulf Ståhle.
Part of the Socotra Folk Museum 40 km east of Hadibo. Photo: Niklas
Some of us bought Dragon Blood Tree crystals. Photo: Niklas
Birders at the big Qaria Lagoon. Photo: Niklas

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