Thursday, 22 October 2015

Hills and Khawr

Last week on Wednesday afternoon and much of Thursday (which was a public holiday), I was birding in the hills again east of Salalah. On Wednesday evening the trip ended up at Khawr Rori once again as I sought crakes.

I was joined by fellow birder Ellen Askum from Norway.

We spent considerable time in Wadi Darbet where the highlight was probably the sighting of a Bonelli's eagle. It was in a tree right next to us when we accidentally flushed it. Luckily for us, it only flew as far as a row of trees on the other side of the water.

perched Bonelli's eagle

The bird flew over the water a couple of times and terrified the reef heron and grey heron there. Form my experience grey heron is its favourite food in this area.

Bonelli's eagle landing cropped from a picture by Ellen Askum

There were a large number of western reef heron at the water side. There often are and all year round too. Wadi Darbet is only about 3 kilometres inland but nevertheless it is still odd to see reef heron which are not on the coast.

western reef heron

In the wooded areas, there were still migrant nightingale though the wave is beginning to subside.

Eastern nightingale

On passage these birds are often out in the open.

shining sunbird

On flowering trees and bushes, shining sunbird are readily seen.

grey headed kingfisher at Ayn Hamran

No trip east of the city into the hills is complete without a visit to Ayn Hamran. Indeed the bird tours will be arriving in force there very soon.

We had it to ourselves. Several grey headed kingfisher were seen as they also were in Wadi Darbet.

Abyssinian white-eye

Abyssinian white-eye are as fast moving as warblers usually. However its often possible to get good photos when they come down to drink. This time we got good photos for a different reason. One of them had decided to take a dust bath. 

Abyssinian white-eye after a dust bath

Very close to the white-eye was a chameleon on a fence. It is a pity that the background was brown and so it was. 


After Ayn Hamran we visited Ayn Tebraq. The extremely large numbers of spotted flycatcher which migrate through Dhofar in autumn are finally thinning out. Though two were still at Ayn Tebraq.

spotted flycatcher

Ayn Tebraq is underrated. It is smaller than Ayn Hamran but often has a higher density of birds.

cinnamon-breasted bunting straight after a bath

Wednesday evening finished off with us crake searching at Khawr Rori.

spotted crake by Ellen Askum

Once again I missed out on any little crake which is one of my nemesis birds and once again spotted crake was present.  Perhaps there are no little crake there?

Late on Thursday afternoon we ended up in the area around the Marriott hotel, east of Mirbat. I will blog about this next.

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