Sunday, 1 March 2015

Gogob and Qairoon Harirti

I visited Qairoon Hariti on Friday. Its in an interesting position at the top of the southern slope of the Salalah to Thumrait road. up in the mountains.

This means its on the green, ocean-facing side. There is a complex of public buildings there with extensive but haphazard gardens. It was here that I birded although a large section of the gardens are out of bounds.

A good area was where the rubbish trucks for the area are parked and at the back of the workers houses.

Rubbish attracts flies and flies attract birds. Two passage common redstart were seen there.


A smart male bluethroat was the most attractive bird there. However at the whole site there was considerable diversity.

young long-billed pipit

There was a good mix of garden birds, natural-habitat birds and those which are both. 

Long-billed pipit and fan-tailed raven were typical non-garden birds.

graceful prinia

Graceful prinia, Abyssinian white-eye, white spectacled bulbul were present in the gardens and near-by spaces.

white wagtail

White wagtail is still present in Dhofar and that includes at Qairoon Hariti.

Arabian wheatear

Arabian wheatear can be seen easily along with desert wheatear and Isabelline wheatear at the moment.

tree pipit

There are very large number of tree pipit passing through the region at the moment well above the numbers which winter. Qairoon Hariti was no exception.

My overall verdict on Qairoon Hariti is that is worth stopping off on the way on my desert trips but not necessarily a destination in itself.

On Friday I made another stop on the way to and that was at Gogob which is below Qairoon Hariiti on the southern side. It is just off the Salalah-Thumrait road.

two Eastern Imperial Eagle

Not many wintering and passage eagles now remain. Steppe eagle numbers went down first. However a few Eastern Imperial Eagle were lingering and two were seen at Gogob. The one on the left of the picture is a young bird while the one on the right is a sub-adult.

Pallid harrier

While out walking there I accidentally flushed a resting pallid harrier from a large tree. Almost immediately two fan-tailed raven started to mob it. About two minutes later there were six of them.

Fan-tailed raven in flight

resting fan-tailed raven

This area has a high number of this species.

desert wheatear

One of the reasons I visited both Qairoon Hariiti and Gogob was to search for pied wheatear. I still haven't seen it in Oman and few appear to pass through Dhofar in spring or autumn. Once again I saw only desert wheatear and the odd Isabelline wheatear.

Tristram's starling

Of course, Tristram's starling, cinnamon-breasted bunting, white spectacled bulbul and Abyssinian white eye were plentiful as usual in the greener parts of the Dhofar mountains.

Cinnamon-breasted bunting

On Saturday, I changed habitat for my birding. I went to two very different arable farming areas. By the end of the day I had added a new bird to my Oman list. The next two blogs will cover this story.

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