Socotra and Yemen Trip Report 4-9 Decemeber 2008

A trip to Socotra, Yemen  4 – 9 December 2008

 ­By AbdulRahman Al-Sirhan

 Participants: Pekka Fågel, AbdulRahman Al-Sirhan, Gary Brown and Irina Mazurkevich.

Dragon’s Blood Tree Dracaena cannibari.  Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Dragon's Blood

 Introduction

The Socotra Archipelago is part of the Republic of Yemen and is situated in the north-western part of the Indian Ocean, 400km from mainland Yemen. It consists of the main island Socotra of 3600km², Abd al Kuri 162 km², Samha 45 km², Darsa 10 km² and some guano-covered rocks Ka’l Fir’awn.

Socotra holds six full species of endemic birds and more than six endemic subspecies, 850 plants 40% of which are endemic to the island. Dragon’s Blood tree Dracaena cannibari and Cucumber Tree Dendrosicyos socotrana are two of the more conspicuous interesting trees endemic to the Island of Socotra.

The herpetofauna of the main island Socotra consists of up to 26 terrestrial species and forms, 65% of which are thought to be endemic. The lizards of the Socotra contain one endemic member of the family Chamaeleonidae, 15 of the Gekkonidae family 11 of which are endemic, 2 endemics of the family Scincidae and one endemic of the Lacertidae family. The Serpentes (snakes) of Socotra include 6 endemics, one of the family Typhlopidae, 3 of the family Leptotyphlopidae and two of the family Colubridae.

The main aim of the trip was to see and photograph the endemic birds of Socotra. These are (1) Socotra Cisticola Cisticola haesitatus, (2) Socotra Warbler Cisticola incanus (Incana incana), (3) Socotra Starling Onychognathus frater, (4) Socotra Sunbird Chalcomitra balfouri, (5) Socotra Sparrow Passer insularis and (6) Socotra Bunting Emberiza socotrana.

The endemic subpecies are as follows:

(1) Socotra Buzzard Buteo (socotranus),  (2) ‘Socotra’ Scops Owl Otus sunia/socotranus taxonomy under discussion. (3) Southern Grey Shrike Lanius meridionalis uncinatus (4) Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark Eremopterix nigriceps forbeswatsoni (5) Socotra Golden-winged Grosbeak Rhynchostruthus socotranus socotranus (6) Long-billed Pipit Anthus similis sokotrae (7) Cinnamon-breasted Bunting Embriza tahapisi insularis (8) Forbes-Watson’s Swift Apus berliozi berliozi endemic breeder in Socotra winters Africa (9) Jouanin’s Petrel Bulweria fallax endemic breeder in Socotra.

Trip Reports

For more information see the useful and informative trip reports below.

Socotra, Yemen 12th – 20th January 2006, by Dave Sargeant.        http://www.worldtwitch.com/socotra_yemen_birding_des.htm

Yemen, including Socotra Jan 13 – 25, 2007, by Jon Hornbuckle   http://www.surfbirds.com/trip_report.php?id=1153

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

 We are most grateful for help from Dave Sargeant who supplied us GPS coordinates file to download to our GPS receiver and to Richard Porter who supplied us the current bird checklist of Socotra and to Ahmed Saeed Suliman Saeed who accompanied us to find the Socotra Bunting, Socotra Scops Owl and Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse, and also to Rösler & Wranik who identified some reptiles from our photographs.

Desert Rose Tree Adenium obesum.  Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Desert Rose 

Itinerary

Thursday 4 December

Our taxi driver met us at 5am at our Hotel (Felix Arabia Hotel) and drove towards Shibam and Kawkaban, although it was dark the restaurants began to open and we stopped for breakfast in Sana’a. On our way the sun began to rise and we saw a wheatear in a flat desert area, stopped at N15 27.014 E44 03.695 and followed the Wheatear to photograph it and then found another wheatear they were all Red-breasted Wheatears. Then we saw a flock of 30 Yemen Serins.

While driving we saw 4 Brown-necked Ravens, 6 Red-breasted Wheatears, 10 Spectacled Bulbuls and Black Redstarts.

Then we reached a Wadi at N15 30.348 E43 56.577 at this Wadi we saw many raptors, Griffon Vultures 2, Steppe Eagles 10,  Imperial Eagles 4, Greater Spotted Eagles 2, Fan-tailed Raven 6, Yellow-billed Kite 8, Lanner Falcon 1,  Sparrowhawk 1, Dusky Turtle Dove 20, Arabian Babbler 5, Long-billed Pipit 1, Lesser Whitethroat 2, Black Redstart 3.

We then drove to Kawkaban at 3000m elevation, we found Hamerkop 1, Yellow-billed Kite 2, Blue Rock Thrush 3, Green Sandpiper 1, Red-breasted Wheatear 2.

We drove toward a small town and had lunch then drove toward a vegetated Wadi at N15 27.798 E43 53.700 at this small Wadi we found South Arabian Wheatears 2, Palestine Sunbird 1, Graceful Prinia 1, Black Redstart 1, Abyssinian White-eye 2, House Sparrow 4, Yellow-billed Kite 2, Brown Woodland Warbler 2, Brown-necked Raven 4.

At another small Wadi at N15 27.755 E43 51.516 we found the following, Tristram’s  Grackle 3, Palestine Sunbird 4, Arabian Serin 1, Brown woodland Warbler 2, Yemen Warbler 2, Graceful Prinia 3, Black Redstart 2, Red-eyed Dove 1, Dusky Turtle Dove 3, Spectacled Bulbul 3, Arabian Stonechat (Saxicola torquata felix) 4,

Friday 5 December

Our flight to Socotra was at 6am so we left the hotel at 3.30am. We arrived in Socotra at 9am. At the airport we first saw five Egyptian Vultures. On our way to the hotel we saw 9 Somali Starlings and one Sooty Gull. We then checked in at Taj Hotel, soon departing for our first trip on the island to Wadi Dihazafaq. On our way, we stopped at Khor Sirhin where we saw a Glossy Ibis 1, Eurasian Teal 2, Greenshank 1, Ringed Plover 1, Moorhen 2, Kentish Plover 2, Dunlin 2, Ruddy Turnstone 6. At Wadi Dihazafaq we saw Socotra Sparrows 2, Egyptian Vultures 2, Isabelline Wheatear 2, Pied Wheatear 1, Somali Starling 3, Long-billed Pipit 2, Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark 20, a Skink and a Gecko of the genus Pristurus.

 At the hotel there were about 20 Egyptian Vultures and two Heuglin’s Gull at the dumping area we also saw a Kite flying overhead but were not able to see whether it was Black or Yellow-billed. After lunch, we left the hotel at 2pm towards Deham village to see the Socotra Cisticola, on our way we saw 11 House Crows and two Socotra Cormorant. In Deham we saw six Socotra Cisticolas two of which were juveniles, Long-billed Pipit 3, Socotra Sparrow 2, Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark 10. We also stopped at Khor Sirhin to see Laughing Dove 6, White Wagtail 1, Greenshank 1, Black-winged Stilt 3.

Saturday 6 December

We left the hotel at 4am to arrive on the Dixem Plateau by 5am, remaining there until 11.30am. Birds encountered there included Socotra Starling 6, Somali Starling 4, Socotra Golden-winged Grosbeak 1, Socotra Warbler 2, Socotra Sunbird 2, Abyssinian White-eye 2, Socotra Sparrow 5, Egyptian Vulture 8, Common Kestrel 1, Long-billed Pipit 3 (on our way), Southern Grey Shrike 1, Peregrine Falcon 1, Forbes-Watson Swift 5.

In the afternoon Ahmed Saeed Suliman requested our driver, Eiad, to take us to a place called Houla N12 41.786 E54 05.873 to see Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse. Along the coast we saw Heuglin’s Gull 6, Sooty Gull 15, Greater Crested Tern 15, Lesser Crested Tern 150, Sandwich Tern 6. In Houla we saw Long-billed Pipit 8, Socotra Cisticola 6, Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark 6 including one juvenile, Desert Wheatear 2.

We then went to Khor Quryah to see the Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse at their drinking place after sunset. At Khor Quryah we saw Abyssinian White-eye 3, Laughing Dove 3, Masked Booby 1. Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse 4 came to drink when it was too dark to photograph the birds. We left the place at 6pm.

 Sunday 7 December

We left the hotel at 5:45am and headed towards Wadi Ayhaft National Park, arriving there at 7:15am. We saw Socotra Golden-winged Grosbeak 2, Socotra Warbler 1, Socotra Sunbird 6, Abyssinian White-eye 10, Bruce’s Green Pigeon 5, Laughing Dove 25, Socotra Buzzard 5, and Socotra Sparrow 25. In our way to the Wadi Ayhaft National Park we saw Long-billed Pipit 2, Socotra Sparrow 12, Laughing  Dove 12, Socotra Sunbird 15, and Western Reef Heron 1 and also found a Socotra Chameleon  Chamaeleo monachus.

In the afternoon we left at 2:13pm to Houla for the Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse, stopping at Khor Sirhin on the way to observe Garganey 2, Eurasian Teal 5, Glossy Ibis 3, Northern Shoveler 2, Moorhen 2, Black-winged Stilt 4, Greenshank 1, Osprey 1, Little Egret 1. At sea side we saw Sooty Gull 20, Sandwich Tern 6, Greater Crested Tern 2, Little Stint 2, Socotra Cormorant 3.

At Houla we found Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse 1, Long-billed Pipit 6, Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark 4, Socotra Cisticola 6. We then went to Wadi Shoq before sunset to find Socotra Scops Owl 1, Bruce’s Green Pigeon 3, Laughing Dove 10, Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse 2.

 Monday 8 December

The 8th December was an Islamic holiday, Adha Eid so Ahmed Saeed Suliman had asked us to come late at 8.30am. Ahmed drove us to the Dixem Plateau in search of the elusive Socotra Bunting that we couldn’t find on our last visit there.

On our way to Dixem we 3 Sooty Gulls were noted along the coast, and at higher elevation we stooped to observe Socotra Warbler 3, Socotra Sunbird 2, Somali Starling 2.

On the Dixem Plateau we found Southern Grey Shrike 7, Long-billed Pipit 10, Desert Wheatear 1, Common Kestrel 1, Socotra Buzzard 3, Brown-necked Raven 2, Rock Martin 1, Socotra Bunting 8, Socotra Starling 14, Somali Starling 16, Isabelline Wheatear 2.

In the afternoon we travelled west along the coast we found Eurasian Curlew 1, Desert Wheatear 1, Turnstone 4, Grey Plover 1.

Tuesday 9 December

The plan was to drive to Qalansiyah and then take a boat trip towards the cliffs and mangroves on the west coast. However, the sea was too rough, so we decided to go bird watching around Khor Qalansiyah. On the way to Qalansiyah, we noted:  Socotra Cormorant 1, Grey Heron 1, Brown-necked Raven 4, Long-billed Pipit 1, Isabelline Wheatear 1, Peregrine Falcon 1, Egyptian Vulture 20, Heuglin’s Gull 20, Socotra Starling 2, Southern Grey Shrike 2.

At Khor Qalansiyah we found: Barn Swallows 2, Gull-billed Tern 1, Temminck’s Stint 1, Cattle Egret 1, Redshank 1, Wood Sandpiper 3, Black-winged Stilt 20,Heuglin’s Gull 30, Somali Starling 3, Little Stint 3, Socotra Cormorant 1, Brown Booby 30, Western Reef Heron 3, Garganey 4, Eurasian Teal 2, Marsh Sandpiper 2, Whimbrel 1, Indian Pond Heron 3, Common Sandpiper 2, Greater Crested Tern 10, Sooty Gull 10.

In the afternoon, we drove back to Hadibo and went birdwatching at Khor Sirhin. There we observed: Yellow Bittern 2, Glossy Ibis 2, Temminck’s Stint 4, Common Snipe 2, Black-winged Stilt 10, Green Sandpiper 1, Wood Sandpiper 1, Common Kestrel 1, Little Ringed Plover 3, Cinnamon-breasted Bunting 3, Abyssinian White-eye 3.

 Wednesday 10 December

Two of us (Abdelrahman and Pekka) took the early morning flight at 6am to Sana’a then to Kuwait to arrive in Kuwait at 8.25pm. Gary and Irina remained for another week on the island to concentrate more on the flora and vegetation, although birds were also occasionally noted.

 Species seen in Yemen

 Hamerkop, Scopus umbretta umbretta, 1

Resident

 Yellow-billed Kite, Milvus aegyptius, 12

Resident

Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Yellow-billed Kite

 Eurasian Griffon Vulture, Gyps fulvus fulvus, 2

Resident, photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Eurasian Griffon Vulture

 Sparrowhawk, Accipiter nisus nisus, 1

Winter visitor

 Greater Spotted Eagle, Aquila clanga, monotypic, 2

Winter visitor

 Steppe Eagle, Aquila nipalensis orientalis, 10

Winter visitor

 Imperial Eagle, Aquila heliaca, monotypic, 4

Winter visitor

 Lanner Falcon, Falco biarmicus, 1

Resident

 Green Sandpiper, Tringa ochropus, 1

Winter visitor

 Red-eyed Dove, Streptopelia semitorquata, 1

Resident. Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Red-eyed Dove

 Dusky Turtle Dove, Streptopelia lugens, 23

Resident. Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Dusky-turtle Dove

 Long-billed Pipit, Anthus similis arabicus, 1

Resident, endemic subspecies to South Arabia. Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Long-billed Pipit

 White Spectacled Bulbul, Pycnonotus xanthopygos, monotypic, 13

Resident. Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

White Spectacled Bulbul

 Black Redstart, Phoenicurus ochruros, 7

Winter visitor

 Arabian Stonechat, Saxicola torquata felix, 4

Resident, endemic subspecies in Southwest Arabia. Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Arabian Stonechat

 Red-breasted Wheatear, Oenanthe  bottae bottae, 12

Resident, endemic subspecies to Southwest Arabia. Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Red-breasted Wheatear

Red-breasted Wheatear

 Abyssinian Black Wheatear, Oenanthe lugubris, 2

Resident. Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Abyssinian Black Wheatear

Abyssinian Black Wheatear

Female Abyssinian Black Wheatear

South Arabian Wheatear

 Blue Rock Thrush, Monticola solitarius, 3

Winter visitor

 Graceful Prinia, Prinia gracilis yemenensis, 4

Resident

 Yemen Warbler, Sylvia buryi monotypic,  2

Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Yemen Warbler

Resident, endemic to Southwest Arabia

 Lesser Whitethroat, Sylvia curruca, 2

Winter visitor

 Abyssinian White-eye, Zosterops abyssinicus arabs, 2

Resident. Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Abyssinian white-eye

 Brown Woodland Warbler, Phylloscopus umbrovirens yemenensis, 4

Resident, endemic subspecies to Southwest Arabia. Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Brown Woodland Warbler

 Arabian Babbler,  Turtoides squamiceps yemensis, 5

Resident. Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Arabian Babbler

 Palestine Sunbird, Cinnyris osea osea, 5

Resident

 Brown-necked Raven, Corvus ruficollis, monotypic, 8

Resident

 Fan-tailed Raven, Corvus rhipidurus, 6

Resident. Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Fan-tailed Raven

 Tristram’s  Starling, Onychognathus tristramii, 3

Resident

Female. Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Tristrams Grackle

With the male

Tristrams Grackle

 House Sparrow, Passer domesticus indicus, 40

Resident

 Olive-rumped Serin, Serinus rothschildi, 1

Resident, endemic to Southwest Arabia. Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Olive-rumped Serin

 Yemen Serin, Serinus menachensis, monotypic, 30

Resident, endemic to Southwest Arabia. Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Yemen Serin

 Cinnamon-breasted Bunting, Embriza tahapisi arabica, 1

Resident, endemic subspecies to Southwest Arabia. Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

 African Rock Bunting

Species seen in Socotra

Northern Shoveler,  Anas clypeata

Winter visitor and passage migrant

Two at Khor Sirhin on 7/12

 Garganey Anas querquedula

Winter visitor and passage migrant

Two at Khoe Sirhin on 7/12 and four at Khor Qalansiyah on 9/12

 Eurasian Teal Anas crecca

Winter visitor and passage migrant

Two at Khor Sirhin on 5/12, five at Khor Sirhin on 7/12, and two at Khor Qalansiyah on 9/12

Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus

Winter visitor & passage migrant

One at Khor Sirhin on 5/12, three at Khor Sirhin on 7/12, and two at Khor Sirhin on 9/12

 Yellow Bittern Ixobrychus sinensis

Vagrant

Two at Khor Sirhin on 9/12

Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Yellow Bittern

 Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii

Winter visitor.

Three at Khor Qalansiyah on 9/12

Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Indian Pond Heron

Indian Pond Heron

 Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis

Winter visitor and passage migrant. May breed.

One at Khor Qalansiyah on 9/12

 Grey Heron  Ardea cinerea

Winter visitor

One at Khor Qalansiyah on 9/12

 Little Egret Egretta garzetta

Winter visitor & passage migrant

One at Khor Sirhin on 7/12

 Western Reef Heron Egretta gularis

Winter visitor & passage migrant

One on the coast on our way to Wadi Ayhaft on 7/12, and one at Khor Qalansiyah on 9/12

Masked Booby Sula dacylatra 

Ony one at Khor Quryah when Gary noticed a Masked Booby behind the bushes. The bird was a juvenile and looked sick.

Brown Booby

Brown Booby Sula leucogaster plotus

Breeds; offshore throughout the year

30 at Qalansiyah on 9/12 and one sick bird at Khor Quryah on 6/12

Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Brown Booby

 

Socotra Cormorant  Leucocarbo nigrigularis

Resident and winter visitor.

Three at coast next to Khor Sirhin on 7/12, and one at Qalansiyah on 9/12

Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Socotra Cormorant

Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus archeri

Resident

One on 6/12 and on 8/12 on our way to Dixem Plateau, one at Khor Sirhin on 9/12. Also noted by Gary on the Nuged Plain (12/12)

Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus

Resident

One on the Dixem Plateau on 6/12, another one on 9/12 just west of Hadibo on the way to Qalansiyah. Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Peregrine Falcon

Osprey Pandion haliaetus

Resident

One at Khor Sirhin on 7/12

 Black/ Yellow-billed Kite Milvus migrans/ aegyptius

Vagrant

One was flying close to Taj Hotel on 5/12

Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus

Resident.

Was seen every day with a maximum of up to 50 individuals

Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Egyptian Vulture

The follwing photograph is by Pekka Fågel

Egyptian Vulture

Socotra Buzzard Buteo  ‘socotranus’

Resident, endemic to Socotra

Five at Wadi Ayhaft National Park on 7/12, three at Dixem Plateau on 8/12.

Gary also saw one on the cliffs above the Nuged Plain on 12/12. Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Socotra Buzzard

Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus

Uncommon visitor. May breed.

Two on 5/12, another two on 7/12 all at Khor Sirhin

 Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus

Resident and probably winter visitor and passage migrant

Three on 5/12 and four on 7/12 at Khor Sirhin, 20 at Khor Qalansiyah  on 9/12

Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola

Winter visitor and passage migrant

One was seen along the coast west of Hadibo on 8/12

 Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula

Winter visitor and passage migrant

One at Khor Sirhin on 5/12

 Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius

Winter visitor and passage migrant

Three at Khor Sirhin on 9/12

 Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus

Resident and winter visitor

Two at Khor Sirhin on 5/12

 Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago

Winter visitor and passage migrant

Two at Khor Sirhin on 9/12

 Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus

Winter visitor and passage migrant

One at Khor Qalansiyah on 9/12

 Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata

Winter visitor and passage migrant

One along the coast west of Hadibo on 8/12

 Common Redshank Tringa totanus

Winter visitor and passage migrant

One at Khor Qalansiyah on 9/12

 Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis

Vagrant

Two at Khor Qalansiyah on 9/12

 Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia

Winter visitor and passage migrant

One at Khor Sirhin on 5/12, and one at 7/12

 Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus

Winter visitor and passage migrant

One at Khor Sirhin on 9/12

 Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola

Winter visitor and passage migrant

Three at Khor Qalansiyah on 9/12, and one at Khor Sirhin on 9/12

 Common Sandpiper Tringa hypoleucos

Winter visitor and passage migrant

Two at Khor Qalansiyah on 8/12

 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

Winter visitor and passage migrant

Six at Khor Sirhin on 5/12, and four west of Hadibo on 8/12

Little Stint Calidris minuta

Winter visitor and passage migrant

Two at Khor Sirhin on 7/12, and three at Khor Qalansiyah on 9/12

 Temminck’s Stint Calidris temminckii

Winter visitor and passage migrant

One at Khor Qalansiyah on 9/12, and four at Khor Sirhin on 9/12

 Dunlin Calidris alpina

Winter visitor and passage migrant

Two at Khor Sirhin on 5/12

 SOOTY GULL Larus hemprichii

Resident and winter visitor

Fifteen east of Hadibo on 6/12, seven east of Hadibo on 7/12, and three on 8/12, and ten at Khor Qalansiya. Up to 30 at several spots along the coast heading towards the east (Gary, 11/12)

Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Sooty Gull

 Heuglin’s Gull Larus  heuglini

Winter visitor

Five at Khor Sirhin on 5/12, six east of Hadibo

 

Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon  nilotica

Rare winter visitor and passage migrant.

One at Khor Qalansiyah on 9/12

 Lesser Crested Tern Sterna bengalensis

Winter visitor and passage migrant

One hundred and fifty east of Hadibo on 6/12

 Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis

Winter visitor and passage migrant

Six east of Hadibo on 6/12, another six east of Hadibo on 7/12

 Greater Crested Tern Sterna bergii

Winter visitor and passage migrant

Fifteen east of Hadibo on 6/12, two east of Hadibo on 7/12, and ten at Khor Qalansiyah on 9/12

 Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse Pterocles lichtensteinii

Resident

Four at Khor Quryah on 6/12, one at Houla on 7/12. Gary photographed a male in Croton scrub at the mouth of Wadi Dihazafaq on 14/12/2008

The following photograph is by Gary Brown

Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse

Feral Pigeon Columba livia  x forma domestica

Resident; introduced

Up to ten were seen around villages

 Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis Sokotrae

Resident, endemic subspecies to Socotra.

Six at Khor Sirhin on 5/12, six at Khor Quryah on 6/12, twenty five at Wadi Ayhaft on 7/12, and ten at Wadi Shoq on 7/12

Bruce’s Green Pigeon Treron waalia

Resident

Five at Wadi Ayhaft on 7/12, three at Wadi Shoq on 7/12. At least five in Wadi Ayheft on 14/12.2008 (Gary).

Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Bruces Green Pigeon

‘Socotra’ Scops Owl Otus sunia/socotranus

Resident; taxonomy under discussion

One at Wadi Shoq on 7/12

The following photograph is by Gary Brown

Forbes-Watson Swift Apus berliozi

Breeding visitor

Five at Dixem Plateau on 6/12

Southern Grey Shrike Lanius meridionalis uncinatus

Resident, endemic subspecies to Socotra

One at Dixem Plateau on 6/12, seven at Dixem Plateau on 8/12, and two at Khor Qalansiyah on 9/12. Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Southern Grey Shrike

House Crow Corvus splendens

Arrived on boat and now breeding; subject of control programme.

Eleven west of Hadibo on 5/12

 Brown-necked Raven Corvus ruficollis

Resident

Two at Dixem Plateau on 7/12, and four at Khor Qalansiyah on 9/12. 1 on Nuged Plain (Gary, 13/12/2008)

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica

Passage migrant

Two at Khor Qalansiyah on 9/12

 Rock Martin Ptyonoprogne fuligula

Resident

One at Dixem Plateau on 8/12

 Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark Eremopterix nigriceps forbeswatsoni

Resident, endemic subspecies to Socotra

Twenty at Wadi Dihazafaq on 5/12, ten at Deham on 5/12, six at Houla on 6/12, and four at Houla on 7/12. Gary noted a few individuals on the Nuged Plain 12-13.12.

Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Black-crowned Finch-Lark

 Socotra Cisticola Cisticola haesitatus

Resident, endemic species to Socotra

Six at Deham on 5/12 including two juveniles, six at east of Hadibo on 6/12, and six at Houla on 7/12

The follwing photograph is by Pekka Fågel

Socotra Cisticola

The following photographs by A. Al-Sirhan

Socotra Cisticola

A juvenile Socotra Cisticola

Socotra Cisticola

Socotra Warbler Cisticola incanus (Incana incana)

Resident, endemic species to Socotra

Two at Dixem Plateau on 6/12, one at Wadi Ayhaft on 7/12, and three at Dixem on 8/12

Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan.

Socotra Warbler

Abyssinian White-eye Zosterops abyssinicus socotranus

Resident

Two at Dixem Plateau on 6/12, three at Khor Quryah on 6/12, ten at Wadi Ayhaft on 7/12, and three at Khor Sirhin on 9/12

The follwing photograph is by Pekka Fågel

Abyssinian White-eye

Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Abyssinian White-eye

Somali Starling Onychognathus blythii

Resident

Nine at our way to our Hotel on 5/12, three at Wadi Dihazafaq on 5/12, four at Dixem Plateau on 6/12, eighteen on 8/12 at Dixem, and three at Khor Qalansiyah on 9/12

The follwing photograph is by Pekka Fågel (female Somali Starling)

Somali Starling

Male, Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Somali Starling

Socotra Starling Onychognathus frater

Resident, endemic species to Socotra

Six at Dixem Plateau on 6/12, fourteen at Dixem Plateau on 8/12, and two at Khor Qalansiyah on 9/12. Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Socotra Starling

Photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Socotra Starling

The follwing photograph is by Pekka Fågel

Socotra Starling

Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina

Winter visitor and passage migrant

Two at Wadi Dihazafaq on 5/12, two at Dixem Plateau on 8/12, and one at Khor Qalansiyah on 9/12

Pied Wheatear Oenanthe pleschanka

Winter visitor and passage migrant

One at Wadi Dihazafaq on 5/12

Desert Wheatear Oenanthe deserti

Winter visitor and passage migrant

Two at Houla on 6/12, one at Dixem Plateau on 8/12, and one west of Hadibo on 8/12

Socotra Sunbird Chalcomitra balfouri

Resident, endemic species to Socotra

Two at Dixem Plateau on 6/12, Seven at Wadi Ayhaft on 7/12, two at Dixem Plateau on 8/12. Up to five in the lower reaches of Wadi Ayhaft (Gary 10-11.12)

The follwing photograph is by Pekka Fågel

Socotra Sunbird

The following photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Socotra Sunbird

Socotra Sparrow Passer insularis

Resident, endemic species to Socotra

Two at Wadi Dihazafaq on 5/12, two at Deham on 5/12, five at Dixem Plateau on 6/12, twenty five at Wadi Ayhaft on 7/12, twelve on our way to Wadi Ayhaft on 7/12. Common also in the south of the island (Gary)

The follwing photograph is by Pekka Fågel

Socotra Sparrow

The following photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Socotra Sparrow

White Wagtail Motacilla alba

Winter visitor and passage migrant

One at Wadi Sirhin on 5/12, two at Khor Qalansiya on 9/12

Long-billed Pipit Anthus similis sokotrae

Resident, endemic subspecies to Socotra

Two at Wadi Dihazafaq on 5/12, three at Deham on 5/12, three in our way to Dixem Plateau on 6/12, eight at Houla on 6/12, two at Wadi Ayhaft on 7/12, six at Houla on 7/12, ten at Dixem Plateau on 8/12, and one at Khor Qalansiyah on 9/12

The following photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Long-billed Pipit

Socotra Golden-winged Grosbeak Rhynchostruthus socotranus socotranus

Resident, endemic subspecies to Socotra

One at Dixem Plateau on 6/12, and two at Wadi Ayhaft on 7/12

The follwing photograph is by Pekka Fågel

Socotra Golden-winged Grosbeak

The following photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Socotra Golden-winged Grosbeak

Cinnamon-breasted Bunting Emberiza tahapisi insularis

Resident, endemic subspecies to Socotra

Three at Khor Sirhin on 9/12. The following photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Cinamon-breasted Bunting

Socotra Bunting Emberiza socotrana

Resident, endemic species to Socotra

Eight at Dixem Plateau on 8/12. The following photograph by A. Al-Sirhan

Socotra Bunting

The follwing photograph is by Pekka Fågel

Socotra Bunting

Reptiles

Socotra Chameleon Chamaeleo monachus, an endemic species to Socotra

Chamaeleo monachus

Socotra Lizard, Mesalina balfouri an endemic lizard to Socotra

Mesalina balfouri

Socotra Rock Gecko Pristurus samhaensis an endemic to Socotra Archipelago  (not recorded in Abd al Kuri)

Pristurus Samhaensis

Socotra Skink Trachylepis socotrana an endemic to to Socotra Archipelago

Trachylepis socotrana

Pristurus species

pristurus sp

Pristurus species

Pristurus

Pristurus species

pristurus

References

Porter, R.F., Christensen, S. and Schiermacker-Hansen (1996) A Field Guide to the Birds of the Middle East.

Birds of the Socotra Archipelago with status at November 2008 by R.F. Porter and Ahmed Saeed Suliman Saeed Suliman, on behalf of SCDP and BirdLife International.

Southern Yemen and Socotra. Sandgrouse Volume 17 (1996) Ornithological Society of the Middle East, UK.

Jennings, M. (2001) Phoenix 18. ABBA Survey 28: Socotra, December 2000. ?National Commission for Wildlife Consevation and Development, Saudi Arabia.

Clements, J.F. (2007) The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World, sixth edition. Cornell University Press.

Dickinson, E.C. (Editor) 2003. The Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World – 3rd Edition. Christopher Helm.

Rösler H., Wranik W. The reptiles of the Socotra archipelago with special remarks on the slender blind snakes (Leptotyphlopidae: Leptotyphlops). Proceedings of the 13th Congress of the Societas Europaea Herpetologica. pp. 125-128 (2006)

http://seh-herpetology.org/files/bonnensis/125_Roesler.pdf

5 Comments

  1. Very nice set. I’m planning on working there soon as an English teacher and my hobbies are nature study and photography. Hope to get some good shots.

  2. How unique and wonderful, don’t know if it is due to strong winds or water in the region that the plants and birds are so different.

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