A sample of photos from Socotra 2009

Photos by Niklas Holmström, arranged in chronological order

Finally, we are going to Socotra from Aden Airport and a stop-over at Mukalla for fuel.
Orientation map of places on Socotra mention and depicted below.
A huge and beautiful adult Antlion at Socotra airport.
Our nice room at Taj Socotra Hotel in Hadiboh. Every morning we seawatched from the roof.
The restaurant were located outside the hotel. Here we enjoy one of all delicious fish plates and goat at one ocassion. From left clockwise: Kjell-Åke, Ulf, Niklas, Alf, Yousuf, Heidi and Göran. (Photo by one of the hotel crew).
Dramatic scenery. Part of the Haggeher mountain ridge.
Serhin lagoons, located a few kilometres east of Hadiboh, were good herons and waders.
Our first afternoon with birding. Here we are looking for the endemic Socotra Cisticola, of which we saw several.
Typical habitat (in foreground) for the Socotra Cisticola. To the right a huge sand dune which almost cover the rocky hill.
Early morning towards west and Qadub area. The low-lying tip is good for seawatching.
A huge Dragon Blood Tree on the high plateau of Socotra. Actually it's not a true tree, but belongs to the lily family.
Dragon Blood Trees of different ages.
Dragon Blood Tree branches.
A huge and very old Dragon Blood Tree and a happy party. (Photo by Ahmed Saeed).
A mountain subspecies of the Desert Rose, which grow at steep cliffs. Diksum area.
View at the Diksum area were we found many Socotra Buntings, Socotra Warblers and Socotra Sunbirds!
While we had a nice picnic lunch the Egyptian Vultures in the Diksum area gathered like pigeons at home, but these was much more beautiful and funny. They were rewarded with tuna, cheese and bread. Heidi and Göran just enjoy the moment.
Their hair-style resembles a bit of the punk rock era.
View from the Diksum area. In far background the beach along the northern coastline is visible.
Peaks at Diksum.
Where are the birds? In fact this place was very good for close views of Forbes-Watson's Swift.
View from Qadub.
Göran is interviewed by Nile Television. The reportage was broadcasted two days later and of course we saw it!
Children in Al-Ayhawt valley. We bought some pure Frankincense resin from their father Salim Abdellah.
The rocky road to Al-Ayhawt valley.
The beautiful Al-Ayhawt valley. A good place for Bruce's Green Pigeon and Socotra Golden-winged Grosbeak.
Yousuf having a chat with a kind bedouin at Al-Ayhawt. Some bought Dragon Blood Tree crystals (dried resin) from him.
Peaks of the Haggeher mountains!
King Alf have found his throne!
Seawatching at Qadub were productive: hundreds of Persian Shearwaters, many Masked and Brown Boobies and lot of Brown Noddies.
The fishing villaga Qalansiyah on the north-western tip. The departure place for our pelagic trip to Subuniah.
A thoughtful little girl on the beach at Qalansiyah.
Our boats at Qalansiyah. Perfect weather conditions and the sea is full of small migrating crabs!
The boats were surprisingly steady (and fast going:) and the skippers learned quickly what to do when seabirds approached.
Socotra Cormorants, terns and gulls.
Very good opportunities for Ahmed, Alf and Ulf to photograph seabirds.
Ulf, Ahmed and Alf and our happy that keep singing constantly.
After two joyful hours we approached Sabuniah, which is the home of 2000 pairs of Masked Booby and 3000 pairs of Socotra Cormorant!
Masked Boobies swarmed over the islet while several Red-billed Tropicbirds flew by.
Masked Boobies.
We found a place to land and we stayed there for an hour. From that spot we had great views of Red-billed Tropicbirds, which were displaying now and then!
Masked Boobies. Adults and a few immatures.
Juvenile Socotra Cormorants.
After the great experiance at Subuniah we headed to Shu'ub, a remote beach on the main island.
A pair of Egyptian Vultures probably found the smell of fresh Swedish meat (below) attractive.
Four exhausted birders in the shade in a fishermen’s (so called) hut. Imagine that we felt the shade cooling, when it in fact was 31 degree!
Sooty Gulls on the beach.
Late afternoon at the wonderful and silent beach at Shu'ub.
We put the tents up on the beach and awaited the dusk.
Sunset at Shu'ub.
In early morning about 3000 Socotra Cormorants arrived. What a sight!
A calm clear blue sea invite you for a swim.
Nice cliffs on our way back to Qalansiyah.
A cliff with trees on our way back to Qalansiyah.
View on our way back to Qalansiyah.
Persian Shearwaters!
Foraging Persian Shearwaters and Brown Noddies (photographed with a compact camera!).
A flock of lovely Brown Noddies foraging alongside the boat!
Diving Persian Shearwaters!
Approaching Qalansiyah. Ulf enjoy to be at the helm!
What a beach! When we drove up the hill Ahmed told us to close our eyes. After a minute he stopped the car and told us to open our eyes slowly.
One of two Socotra Chameleons Chamaeleo monachus that crossed the road luckily.
View at about ten kilometres east of Qalansiyah.
The birding party in front of a Frankincense tree east of Qalansiyah. From left: Ahmed, Ulf, Alf, Niklas, Heidi, Göran and Kjell-Åke (Photo: Yousuf).
Socotra Scops Owl at Suq. So very little and beautiful!
Serhin lagoons, a few kilometres east of Hadiboh, which is a good site for herons and waders.
Qaria lagoons.
Northern part of the Qaria lagoon system.
Desert roses on the eastern part of the island. Some with heavy trunks as seen.
Socotra Folk Museum, which is located about 40 kilometres east of Hadiboh.
The staff and Ahmed told us lot of the Socotran history and showed us a vast numbers of photos from the 60's!
Part of the museum-
Part of the museum.
Heavy sand dune built and shaped by the monsoon.
The spring water at Hallah. At this little green oasis we found two Indian Pond Herons, Yellow Wagtail and a vagrant Tree Pipit!
The bay east of Hallah.
Di Hamri, a protected coral reef area, were we relaxed, did some snorkelling and seawatching.
The seawatch from the tip of Di Hamri were joyful with species such as Flesh-footed (3) and Persian Shearwater (21), Jouanin’s Petrel (20), Masked and Brown Booby, Bridled Tern (1), Brown Noddy (106) and finally two long awaited Wilson’s Storm-petrels!
On our last evening on Socotra we made a stop at Suq ant its lagoons to await the dusk, when theLichtenstein's Sandgrouses come to drink.
Göran in a contemplative mode. All of us were probably both happy and melancholy as this was the last night on Socotra. The beloved island!
Sunset at Suq.
Moon glare in the Suq lagoon. After this photo were taken the sandgrouses arrived and their calls filled the air. What a farewell!
All photos by Niklas Holmström