Anyway with this in mine I visited Ayn Sahalnoot late yesterday afternoon. However instead of seeing many passage birds I almost walked into a black stork as I rounded a tree.
black stork at Ayn Sahalnoot
It was either very tame or ill or both as it allowed me closer than I have ever been to a black stork before.
It's feathers didn't look too good around the head and neck but I know nothing about this species moult pattern.
black stork from the rear
This is the third place I have seen black stork this winter. I saw one at Wadi Darbat on several occasions, two at Khawr Rori and now this observation. Of course it could be the same bird as at wadi Darbat. Either way my guide book to middle eastern birds describes black stork as a vagrant to Oman. My winter's observations don't support that judgement.
black stork into the sun
The only other large bird at the Ayn was a purple heron which is probably the same bird I have seen on every visit.
There was not much sign of any passage of small birds there. It is still very early. I spent some time on a wheatear to check if it was a northern wheatear or not. very few winter here and mostly on the large farms.
wheatear shows its tail
third shot of isabelline wheatear
Other notable birds at the Ayn included a Daurian shrike and a smartly coloured if thin looking male blue rock thrush.
male blue rock thrush
On Wednesday afternoon, I had visited the Raysut area. There had been storks there too. About 400 white stork were counted which are probably preparing to leave soon. At the settling pools I counted just 13 Abdim's stork. The other 500 have left.
white stork at Raysut
So many of the signs of passage are actually birds leaving. However there is a notable increase in yellow wagtail almost every where and clearly the wader populations are changing. Unfortunately I have had no sign of the target birds I listed at the start of the blog. It's early days though.