I chose to go to Khawr Rori.
The biggest news from there is undoubtedly that the red-knobbed coot have bred.
Two adults have been seen there for months now by me and others. This time I found them with three chicks.
adult red-knobbed coot with chick
I believe the three chicks may be survivors from two batches as one chick looks significantly younger and smaller than the other two. Red-knobbed coot like all coots are monogamous so this pair is probably extremely important for the continued breeding of the species in Oman.
a family of red-knobbed coot
The previous breeding records have all been from West Khawr in 2012-13 when they breed at least twice in an apparent similar pattern to those seen at Khawr Rori during the week.
While watched them I feared that a predator might get a chick while I was there. A marsh harrier moved in right above the clump of reeds that the family were swimming around. The chicks all swam into deep cover while the adults stayed out. The harrier never found the chicks but it was a scary moment.
Moving round the north east side of the khawr near where the red-knobbed coot were, several other species were present. These included black-tailed godwit, cattle egret, ruff and glossy ibis.
As time was short, I missed out viewing large areas of the khawr and headed straight to the sand bar at the southern (and seaward) end. Although I could see flamingo and sooty gull in the water as I drove past.
grey plover in flight
At the sandbar were two grey plover. In flight the characteristic black patch on the underwing was obvious.
Records of bar-tailed godwit are even more numerous than black-tailed godwit in Oman as a whole. However in the Dhofar khawrs, I have found black-tailed godwit much more common. Nevertheless, a single bar-tailed godwit was spotted next to the sandbar.
I made my way round to the west side via the sandbar. Time here was brief but long enough to see several garganey and two northern shoveller.
One of the few trees there held grey heron, squacco heron and black-crowned night-heron.
Actually, there were squacco heron scattered all round the khawr.
Likewise there were four types of tern and Forbes-Watson swift seen flying all round all parts of the khawr. The terns were great crested tern, common tern and newly arrived whiskered tern and white winged tern.
Certainly in winter the gates to the area close at 6pm so I rushed out in time. However it looks like they close later at the moment.
This left me some time before sunset to explore the north west sidearm of the khawr that is approachable from the main road.
As it was close to sunset I decided to look for crakes which are known to arrive in the Dhofar in September on passage or even for the winter.
I reached a clearing in the reeds created by camel grazing which looked a good prospect and waited. My attention was diverted by a common snipe.
I waited ten minutes and then noticed a moorhen and a crake walking from right to left at the far side of the clearing.
spotted crake 1
It was not the return of the Baillon's crake but the arrival of a spotted crake. The light was so poor now and the spotted crake was too far away for my flash to help. Nevertheless, the bird is recognisably a spotted crake by photos though I could tell easily in the field.
spotted crake 2
The buff undertail is an easy identifier compared with the barred undertails of both little crake and Baillon's crake.
Spotted crake is now number 291 on my Oman list.