The mountains are now shrouded in mist as the first effects of the monsoon are being felt. The sea is rough and the city is mostly overcast but visibility is still fine.
I have no idea whether the weather persuaded a juvenile barbary falcon to come to the edge of the city at East Khawr and at sea level too. Nevertheless one did.
barbary falcon at East Khawr
This was pleasent surprise at the start of my day's birding.
rufous nape prominent
I have seen adult birds on wires before but up in the Tawi Atair area.
barbary falcon looking straight ahead
A brave or foolhardy common myna tried to mob the falcon but very nearly got caught out when it flew.
barbary falcon with common myna
The khawr itself was a little disappointing. There was a mist over the water and few birds could be seen. These were mostly limited to squacco heron, moorhen and flamingo.
On the beach I could only see great crested tern, sooty gull and a few Kentish plover and lesser sand plover.
Later in the morning I returned to birding with another trip to Jarziz farm.
The eleonora's falcon which was present from June 12-14 has gone.
On the other hand, there are still Amur falcon coming through. I saw my first there on April 29th and on every subsequent visit except May 31st. Even on Saturday (June 20th) there were two.
immature male Amur falcon
perched immature male Amur falcon
On Friday there were also two Amur falcon and they were quite possibly the same birds. They usually stay 1 or 2 days but occasionally more.
male Amur falcon in flight on Friday
The second bird was an immature female.
female Amur falcon
The previous female on site had a poorly left eye but it often possible to tell one individual from another by characteristics such as moustache length and density of streaking.
female Amur falcon in flight
Unusually there was a tern at the farm flying over the small water reservoir. The attraction for the tern was undoubtedly the fish than somehow have got in there.
My ability to identify terns is limited but improving since I moved to a coastal site with this job.
What helped me with the species identification was the underwing. I understand the dark trailing edge on the outer primaries and translucent inner primaries are diagnostic for common tern.
common tern from the underside
The full black cap is a summer feature yet the very dark bill concerned me. Thanks to Bart de Schutter for pointing out that this is a feature of the Far Eastern sub species longipennis. Although another eastern sub-species minussensis is quite common here, my understanding is that longipennis is rarer.
I found out where the large flock of glossy ibis, which frequented East Khawr and Sahalnout farm for many months, have got to.
glossy ibis at West Khawr
There was one Eurasian spoonbill which was loosely associating with them too.
However the most interesting member of the heron family seen here is striated heron.
Although they are most often seen on low lying rocks on the coast, they often breed in mangroves. Indeed one alternative name is mangrove heron. However mangroves are rare in the Salalah area but the largest patch is at West Khawr.
immature striated heron
So I wasn't totally surprised to see an adult bird and further along an immature bird which luckily was relatively confiding.
striated heron 2
It posed on a branch barely three metres from me.
striated heron 3
Elsewhere there were five whiskered tern which kept resting on the sand bar that separately the khawr from the sea. Kentish plover were there too.
intermediate morph western reef heron
One of the last birds seen was an osprey perched on the fence close to the car.