Wednesday 21 January 2015


On Saturday I decided to explore rather than visit the usual birding hotspots. I took the old road into the mountains parallel but west of the modern road to Thumrait. 

I don't really know why all the mountain hotspots are east of the main road.

I headed for a random village called Shiboob. 

I have to confess I saw nothing new but on the other hand it appeared as good as many of the more easterly places.

Tristram's starling

In Shiboob, I carried out the leaking tap method of birding. This is where you sit in the car and wait and do nothing but watch a water leak. Its very effective on hot days but seemed to work well even in mid-winter at Shiboob.

Tristram's starling spent a lot of time on top of the water tank.

Ruppell's weaver

Ruppell's weaver drank from the tap itself.

white wagtail

White wagtail and laughing dove drank from the run-away.

laughing dove

Cinnamon bunting did both. They drank from the tap and the run-way.

cinnamon-breasted bunting

House sparrow visited a near-by tree.

house sparrow

Arabian wheatear and desert wheatear were seen on near-by wires.

young Arabian wheatear

Elsewhere near the village were Abyssinian white-eye and white spectacled bulbul. I have little doubt they and the house sparrow would have visited the leaking tap if I had stayed longer. A visit to the same place in the migration seasons could get very interesting.

common kestrel

There were several birds of prey in the skies in the area. Most were steppe eagle. Common kestrel was also seen.

fan tailed raven and steppe eagle

After visiting Shiboob I took a side road east back onto the main Thumrait highway. I had a little time to visit Wadi Rabkout.

It is one of the places recommended to go to look for for African collared dove. Once again I failed to see any.

collared dove in the village

However I did discover for the first time that the village has ten or twenty times more collared dove than the rest of the wadi put together. My tip is to look in the village if you want more chances. I know African collared dove well from birding in south west Saudi Arabia. They are just as much a town as a country bird.

another collared dove in the village

I went north out of Salalah to the Thumrait area again during the week and added another bird to my Oman list. I will blog about that next.

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