Thursday 27 November 2014

Hypocolius at Mudayy

I have been to Mudayy oasis once before as it is one of the best places to see Nile valley sunbird. However I have seen them much closer to home since.

On Saturday I made the long trip again because of the high possibility of seeing a difficult bird. This time the bird was hypocolius.

Thanks are due to Jens Eriksen who told me some time ago that it winters there.

female hypocolius

Indeed it was found quite easily near the main pool. I counted 14 in all. 

male hypocolius

I know this bird well as up to 200 winter every year in the diplomatic quarter in Riyadh but it is much common in Oman. I have seen it in three countries now. The third is Bahrain.

white spectacled bulbul with hypocolius

These birds were mostly keeping to the shade as it was a hotter day than average for this time of year.

male house sparrow

In the shade with them were a large number of house sparrow. These are the local type which shun houses and are overall paler.

Nile valley sunbird

It was so warm I even saw a Nile Valley sunbird in the same shady place though the dappled sunlight made viewing difficult.

second view of Nile Valley sunbird

My one regret about this area was getting two fleeting glimpses of a thrush which may well have been a song thrush. However the bush is so thick there I never got a clear view. I won't count it.

Laughing dove

Last time I came to the village there were tens of laughing dove and I only observed one European collared dove.

first European collared dove

This time I found about 10 European collared dove after a very short search. I suspect this is some sort of winter dispersal. Like wadi Rabkoot, Mudayy is another place where African collared dove has been reported. Nevertheless once again all my birds were European collared dove but the bright sunlight plays tricks.

second European collared dove

I left the village by noon when it getting very warm. I made a long stop off at the very top of the mountains on the way back. Here there is an abrupt change from green seawards facing places to the arid inland facing side. I chose to bird right on the cusp behind the police check point at the top on the observatory road.

There was lightly vegetated wadi which I birded thoroughly. I was looking for hooded wheatear and scrub warbler but failed with both.

another Nile Valley sunbird

Quite surprisingly, one of the first birds I saw was a Nile Valley sunbird and indeed got much better views than at Mudayy.

Rock dove

Less surprisingly there were several rock dove seen.

Arabian wheatear

No bird was present in large numbers but Arabian wheatear was seen more than any other. 

Striolated bunting

The last bird observed before I continued the journey home was a striolated bunting.

The next time i went out birding was mid-week at the start of a two day national holiday. I will blog on that next.

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