Saturday 13 September 2014

Scrub land south of Ain Razat

I moved away from Ayn Razat in the early afternoon on Friday to look for some different habitat.

I went down the hill into some scrub land with less bushes and greenery. The move paid off. The birds changed and I added 3 more to my growing Oman list.

The most common bird was still probably laughing dove. Nevertheless its support cast was quite different.

As might have been expected there were more larks.

male black crowned sparrow lark

Although crested lark was the main lark, I did come across my first black crowned sparrow lark since moving to Oman to work.

crested lark

Arguably cinnamon breasted bunting was the second most common bird. Without major competition from house sparrow in this part of Oman it seems to thrive in a wide variety of habitats.

cinnamon breasted bunting

White spectacled bulbul  and Ruepell's weaver were only seen in the more bushy areas.

white spectacled bulbul

The main migrants observed were once again rufous bush robin and Turkestan shrike.  However in one large tree next to a water channel and with many weavers nests as well as several other species jumping (notably Tristram's starting and blackstart) I spied two willow warbler.

willow warbler

This was one of the additions to my country list.

little green bee-eater

As I headed back at the end I saw another rufous bush robin and the first little green bee-eater (two) and  Turkestan shrike of the day.

Then I heard this screeching noise over head. It was a common kestrel trying to mob an eagle. I had reacted quite late and only managed two pictures but it was enough.

Bonelli's eagle

It was positively identified as a Bonelli's eagle on BirdForum. Indeed it is an a bird which is shedding its last few immature feathers before having a complete set of adult feathers. It's also a lifer for me.

female common kestrel

One of my last sights before finishing for the day was the common kestrel, which had alerted me to looking up in the air, resting on a bush.


  1. Nice stuff once again. It seems Cinnamon-breasted is staggeringly common down there. That Willow Warbler's bill looks massive, or is it just the angle you were shooting at?

  2. Watch this space. I am getting expert opinion on these buntings. Looks like the ones features may well be all striolated after all. I have seen a small number of ones with totally black bibs which are likely to be cinnamon breasted. If this is confirmed, I'll have to update 3 blog pix and a bit of text.. In other words I may have been right in the first place with my initial ID at wadi darbat, .Lets see

  3. The one above could be Striolated, yes. But the other one was surely too brightly-coloured and well-marked to be one.


    This is the verdict from Mark Smiles here in the UAE.

  5. Yes I am now back in the cinnamon breasted camp. I sent you an email about it repercussions. Rob

  6. Got it, thanks. Interesting situation.