Rare Bird Sighting at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club in Abu Dhabi

Sighting of the rare subspecies of migratory bird, the Steppe Whimbrel at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, Abu Dhabi

Saadiyat Beach Golf Club is excited to announce the sighting of an extremely rare subspecies of migratory bird called the Steppe Whimbrel. The bird was sighted by the lake on the 18th hole at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club and has created a lot of excitement around the facility.

Earlier in the year Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, managed by Troon Golf, was proud to announce that it achieved and was recognized as an Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary Certified property. Troon Golf, which prides itself on creating extraordinary member and guest experiences, was delighted to hear the positive ecological news at one of their Troon International properties in the Middle East. The sighting of the Steppe Whimbrel showcases the constructive impact a well-managed, sustainable golf course can be in such an environmentally impactful location.

Gary Player, course designer at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club and World Golf Hall of Famer, shared his enthusiasm of the recent discovery. “My brother, Ian Player, was a world leading conservationist and so a passion for wildlife has always been in my blood. On my farm in South Africa, there were 124 different species of bird and every morning, I used to call them in order to feed them on my verandah. I have always had a special affinity for birds. When I was informed that the Steppe Whimbrel had been seen on the golf course, I got goose pimples. Birds love water, greenery and fresh air and Saadiyat Beach Golf Club has these in abundance. With the course having secured the Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary Certified property award, the appearance of the Steppe Whimbrel is very encouraging news. I only wish I had the honor of seeing such a rare bird myself.”

A special mention goes to local resident bird enthusiasts, Oscar Campbell and Simon Lloyd, who spotted this wonderfully rare specimen. All three of Aldar’s golf facilities: Yas Links Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Golf Club and Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, are frequently visited by Simon and Oscar. The relationship forged and regular information shared has been valuable to all associates throughout the properties. With a total of 183 bird species recorded at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club (and steadily increasing at a rate of approximately 5 new species per year), the continual surveying has been a corner stone and a platform for the golf clubs to continue their push for improving the awareness of the local environment and implemented sustainability programs.

This sighting and photographic record of the bird is of global importance, placing emphasis on the necessity for environmentally friendly & green pastures for traveling birds to utilize during their migratory journeys. Our juvenile Steppe Whimbrel has been spotted several times over the past couple of weeks, signifying a lengthier stay to refuel before it journeys further south to Africa. We hope to continue seeing these rare sightings in the near future and look forward to welcoming more species over the upcoming seasons.

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