Jeremy Lee, our birding-pilot, transited in Abu Dhabi recently and sent in this report:
“Taking a break in the cool hotel room from the afternoon heat in Abu Dhabi right now. I took a walk to the parks just opposite the hotels and next to the waterways (above).
“The parks department has done a good job with the open parks, they have invested good money in the design and setup. The lawns are covered with beautiful carpet grass and there are birds everywhere.
“Found Eurasian Tree Sparrows (Passer montanus) nesting in the palm trees and a pair of Red-vented Bulbuls (Pycnonotus cafer) patrolling their turf (below).
“It is interesting to note that these palm trees are very good nesting sites for several species of birds. A local dove and the sparrows can be seen nesting in the trees. I am sure the bulbuls are also using them, if not, then it will be the nicely manicured short ficus trees that provide a more discreet nesting site.
“We have brought butterflies back to the gardens in Singapore. Maybe it is time to bring some bulbuls back to the heart of the city. Maybe an isolated population at Raffles Place with sufficient breeding spots would help. It always reminds me of Kowloon Park in Hongkong where you hear lots of bulbuls calling in the morning and sometimes fighting and taking their fight right down to ground level at a pedestrian crossing bordering the park.
“The pictures attached show the palm trees and right next to the palm trees, there are some tall grasses. This is the perfect setting for enticing weaver nest building species to set up home.
“We have chased a lot of birds out of our own backyards in the last 20 years. Maybe with all the new park connectors, we may be able to bring them back into the heart of our housing estates and even down town.”