It is known to have some exotic winter vagrants from time to time probably because it is the only mixed wooded habitat for many tens if not a hundred kilometres. For example last winter a rare black throated thrush was seen in the same bush as a vagrant dusky thrush.
It was this prospect that enticed me to make this very long journey starting out at 4.30am from Salalah.
I arrived at about 7.30 am and it still very cold in the desert. The birds were just stirring.
Indian pond heron
The very first two birds I saw were a good start. One was my first desert whitethroat in Oman, the second was a surprising Indian pond heron in a tree. The middle of the desert is a strange place for a pond heron.
female taiga flycatcher
Note it has no buff colours as with a female a red-breasted flycatcher. It is just greys, black and white. The overall impression is much colder. The bill is uniform dark, the underparts are a light grey with a distinct bright white throat. The rump is very dark too.
There are more pictures which I am using in the rarity submission.
You may want to look how closely it resembles a bird seen in Dubai two winters ago. http://www.smugmug.com/gallery/n-8dK28/i-hXSJ8rw
I briefly observed a bluethroat too.
There were three chiffchaff. This one was in the same place as the flycatcher.
White wagtail were the easiest migrant to see being most out in the open.
Wheatears are more common outside the garden wall but at least one was inside.
black necked raven
second view of brown-necked raven
The male nile valley sunbird are starting to moult into breeding plumage.
nile valley sunbird
Certainly the most common resident is laughing dove.
The other two main residents are Eurasian collared dove and house sparrow.
Unlike the house sparrow to their south and west these are quite happy on buildings. Indeed they nest on the motel. They are more "normal".
I also visited two more desert sites. I will blog about these next.