Is it Safe?
I guess you need to judge that for yourself, personally I found it safe mainly because Yousf my guide would not take any risks himself, and he was always very vigilant and took great care to ensure my needs were met. The country side was fantastic and the people very friendly always wanting too know what you were doing, I have to admit I found it too much just on one occasion. And the birding well I will let the list speak for its self. Enjoy...
I stayed within the
To the north we found the Arabian Woodpecker and I had some excellent views for 3-days in a row. At Kawkaban we had great views of a pair of Arabian Accentor, Yemen Serin and a Yemen Linnet on the nest with young.
I decided that I wanted to sleep out for the night at Kawkaban so we obtained some mattresses from a local café called Funduk Harmida in Shibam. This was because I was hoping to see a Hume’s Tawny owl and we did get a glimpse of it against the street lights it was one of those moments when for once I wished I had a torch with me.
The next day we searched the top of Kawkaban where there is this lovely old settlement situated right on the edge of the cliff. Here we found Philbys Partridge, Red-capped Lark, Red-breasted Weathers and waders at the local reservoir
Day 1 Brown-necked Raven Fan-tailed Raven Speckled Warbler Golden-winged Grosbeak African Rock Bunting Arabian Warbler Little Rock-Thrush Yemen Thrush Long-billed Pipit Richards Pipit
Day 2 Arabian Babbler Palestine & Shining Sunbird White-breasted White-eye Black-crowned Tchagra Isabeline Shrike Little Swift Grey-headed Kingfisher White-throated Bee-eater Arabian Woodpecker.
Day 3 Black-bush Robin, Rüppells Weaver, Arabian Waxbill, African Silverbill, Yemen Serin, Arabian Serin, Rufous-bush Robin.
Day 4 Tristram's Starling, Yemen Linnet, Yemen Accentor, Arabian Wheatear, Red-breasted Wheatear, Hume's Tawny Owl, Philbys Partridge, African Palm-Swift, Red-capped Lark, Arabian Woodpecker, Golden Oriole, Wryneck, Lammergeyer.
Last Day Amethyst Starling, Spotted Flycatcher, Brown Woodland Warbler, Didric Cuckoo, Arabian Partridge Long-legged Buzzard, African Rock Martin, Crag-Martin, Gambage Flycatcher, Clamorous Reed Warbler, House Bunting, Cinereous Bunting, Isabeline Wheatear.
On our last day of birding we had the most amazing experience I have ever had with a bird of prey.As we were leaving a wadi we were presented a Long-legged Buzzard in summer plumage on migration just 75 meters away...
Well this guy put on one fantastic display he swoop, grabbed branches, dived, spun round, flip over and swoop again and again for a whole 10 minutes or more.
Yousf said to me "that was meant for us" (throughout this time you heard me saying with excitement, wow, this is out this world, I have never seen anything like this in my life).
My reply to Yousf was you better believe it, this was a message straight from spirit even non-believers would believe after that show.
Would I go again?
You bet. If anyone is interested in going let me know and would be happy to organise it.
Al Mahwit wadi Ahjar Kawkaban Shibam Sana’a Dump (