Monday 26 October 2009

26 October - Socotra at last!

We got up early and had a great breakfast buffet. We tasted everything as no one knows the standard in Socotra. Yousuf met up outside the hotel along with Abdulhadim, of which we said our goodbye too as he will not join us to Socotra. A bit sad as he had been a happy company and a good driver. At Aden airport we checked in 08:20 and the rather small airplane left at 09:00. We made a stop over at Al Mukalla to fuel for the flight to Socotra, on which we arrived at about 11:50. At last! A long wet dream come true for several of us!

To our very surprise we found an Internetcafe just fifty meters from the hotel! But there is no coverage at all for our mobile phones.

The friend of Yousuf, Ahmed Saeed Suleiman, met us at the airport and drove us to the hotel in Hadibo, just a few kilometers away. The hotel is very nice and perfect for birdwatchers as the balconies face the sea. After a delicious seafood lunch Ahmed (The Socotra Governance and Biodiversity Project) took us on a ride to nearby sites in the afternoon. We saw six Cream-coulered Coursers, several Desert Wheatears, Black-crowned Sparrowlark (30), Long-billed Pipits and of course the endemic Socotra Cisticola (6). Then we headed to a nearby tip at the coast for seawatching the last hour before sunset. We saw Persian Shearwaters (300), Jouanin's Petrel (4), Flesh-footed Shearwater (4), Swift Terns and Sooty Gulls.

Other sightings were Socotra Sparrow, lots of Somali Starlings and Egyptian Vultures. In the dusk we heard a few Lichtenstein's Sandgrouses.

Indeed a good start on our weeklong stay on Socotra!

Socotra, here we come! Photo: Niklas Holmstrom.
A beautiful adult Antlion at Socotra airport. Photo: Niklas Holmstrom.
Our room at the hotel and Ulf finds the checklist for Socotra. Photo: Niklas
A nice Cream-coulored Courser. Photo: Ulf Stahle.
Birders searching for the endemic cisticola. Ahmed to the right. Photo: Niklas
Finally, we twitched the Socotra Cisticola! Photo: Ulf Stahle.
A beautiful male Desert Wheatear! Photo: Ulf Stahle.