I was still looking for Dunn's lark and I knew that golden eagle had occasionally been reported in the area. Although I saw the odd desert lark and hoopoe lark, neither of the target birds were observed.
About 32 kilometres from Mazyunah there is a turning off right which is signposted to Shisr and Dowkah. I took it.
The road is reasonably flat but it is not paved.
The birding at the start of this road was very good indeed.
At a hamlet I stopped to look at some larks which proved to be desert lark (and a single black crowned sparrow lark).
Having stopped it soon became apparent there was more to this place than larks.
There was a single sandgrouse which I accidentally flushed. In flight its underwing looked like crowned sandgrouse and luckily for me, it landed where I could see it. I was extremely pleased to see it was male crowned sandgrouse. This has been a target bird for some time.
It has not been to drink the three times I have been to Muntasar Oasis. This is "standard" way that birders have tried to find this bird.
I saw it in a completely different way. It was away from a watering hole and grazing.
crowned sandgrouse walking away
three turtle dove
desert lark 1
While this was the most interesting and fulfilling part of my journey from Mudayy to Shisr, more time was spent fruitlessly inspecting every lark I came across.
desert lark 2
The most common lark by far was desert lark whether the terrain was sandy (as in the start of the journey) or stony (as later).
desert lark 3
In the more rocky area, which was most of the 85 kilometres to Shisr from the original turn off, there was hardy a bird at all.
Just before Shisr, the terrain turns back to sandy again.
At Shisr, it was very hot indeed and it was towards the hottest time of day. I couldn't bird for long but I found an interesting spot.
It was on the edge of a field with a row of trees and bushes adjacent to it. Here one of the sprinkler valves was leaking causing localised flooding of a small part of the field. It was a magnet for birds.
Each time a barn swallow made a sortie around the field, it would return to perch under a tree next to the flooded area.
two barn swallow
The bushes close to the valve held two marsh warbler. On two occasions they dashed for the water and bathed in it for a few seconds.
waterlogged part of a field
There was a common whitethroat in the same bushes.
Every bird looked hot and most held their months open including the local house sparrow.
Apart from the barn swallow, the most common migrant was spotted flycatcher. I counted five. Even they took baths.