This time I visited with no really intention of looking again. I had expended some much time and energy looking round this very large site.
Of course, the obvious happened. The bird was wading in the first place I stopped off at. Not only that but the sun was behind me and the bird was giving uninterrupted views for nearly ten minutes. It was only ten metres away too. I suspect I got as good views as anyone has managed so far.
long-billed dowitcher stretching
long-billed dowitcher finds a water beetle
Long-billed dowitcher breed in the far east of Russia and in Alaska on the Arctic Ocean. Most birds migrate south east to Mexico and Florida for winter. A few fly south west to southern Japan and Taiwan. Vagrancy in Oman is way off course.
long-billed dowitcher about to eat a water beetle
It much prefers fresh water whereas its close cousin, short-billed dowitcher prefers saltier water. This one was extremely lucky to seek out Khawr Rori in such an arid gulf.
long-billed dowitcher after eating
a distant pheasant-tailed jacana
When I resumed normal birding, I noticed the number of ducks had dropped right off since my last visit. However by way of compensation, those that remained were virtually all in breeding plumage.
Only three species of duck were observed. These were garganey, northern pintail and ferruginous duck.
The number of birds of prey were well down too. I saw only two. One was an osprey and the other was a Bonelli's eagle.
Not all species numbers were down. For example they were over 35 black-tailed godwit on site scattered in small groups.
three black-tailed godwit
Contrary to my expectation, the long-billed dowitcher was not associating with any of these groups this time. Although some of the other observers have implied association when they have seen it.
Some of the black-tailed godwit are beginning to acquire breeding plumage.
Elsewhere at the khawr there were several grey heron and western reef heron as well as two intermediate egret. Four glossy ibis and two European spoonbill were also observed.
I have said before that I believe the spring passage from Africa of passerines appears weak because Salalah is not really on a large scale route. The nearest it comes to main stream is the route from East Africa to Iran and south east European Russia. Of course many species in those places winter in India but many others winter in Africa.
Rufous bush robin are widespread in Iran in summer and it is quite common in the Salalah area at the moment. The first two I saw this spring were in the north west corner of Khawr Rori which is full of bushes. This corner, by the way is approached from the main road and not from the lake itself.
rufous bush robin 1
Seeing these birds re-excited me about the spring passage. Perhaps I will see new species after all. I will know soon enough. The next four or five weeks will be important.
rufous bush robin 2
This particular rufous bush robin was quite tame and the species generally is not shy.
rufous bush robin 3
The afternoon in Khawr Rori turned out very enjoyable indeed.