Wednesday 28 October 2015

Much more at Rakhyut

There was much more to Rakhyut than owling (see yesterday's blog). 

On the mountain top before we (Saeed Shanfari, Hedi Khecharem and I) descended into Rakhyut the action started.

There were four eagles. Three were steppe eagle which soon disappeared.

Eastern imperial eagle 1

One eagle stayed behind and give good views. It was an Eastern imperial eagle.

Eastern imperial eagle 2

It was a young bird. I suspect it is a second year bird though I don't have enough expertise to be certain.

Eastern imperial eagle

Within the village is a khawr. However there is very little cover around it and the water quality looks poor. So there are few birds usually. This time there were a few moorhen, garganey, greenshank, a dark morph reef heron, grey heron and gull-billed tern.


In Wadi Rakhyut there were plenty of European roller as well as resident birds such as blackstart and cinnamon-breasted bunting.

European roller

A single rufous-tailed rock thrush was present. This is a migrant which often stops off in Dhofar for a while before moving on to Africa.

rufous-tailed rock thrush

After a short time we began to realise just how many European roller there were. By the end of our stay in Rakhyut, we had seen 70.

another European roller

After dusk we went owling as previously reported. It was not just owls we saw but potential owl food.

rodent near Rakhyut

On Saturday morning, I was up early and birded round the village. I was looking particularly at doves. I wanted to know whether African collared dove made it this far east. The border areas with Yemen seem geographically more likely to have this bird.  Rather strangely though the village had no African collared dove or European collared dove.

laughing dove

In contrast, laughing dove were common.

Tristram's starling

However they were nowhere near as common as Tristram's starling. We saw at least 170.

marsh sandpiper

I made another inspection of the village khawr to see if anything had arrived overnight. A marsh sandpiper was the only obvious addition.

common kestrel

As I walked round the khawr, a common kestrel was perched. They are locally very common.

desert wheatear

The final bird before I met up with the others again was a desert wheatear on the beach.

Verreaux's eagle (by Saeed Shanfari)

On meeting up we drove the car through the village to the west side before leaving. On the western cliffs a Verreaux's eagle flew by. We waited for a few minutes and it returned. Thanks to Saeed Shanfari who has allowed me to post his photograph.

This was not the last eagle seen locally. As we climbed out of the village, a short toed eagle was perched on a wire.

short toed eagle 1

I find this bird's plumage colours are very variable. This one had a bluer head than average.

short toed eagle 2

Eventually the bird flew off.

short toed eagle flying off (by Saeed Shanfari)

This was the last significant bird before we left the area. Thanks are again due to Saeed Shanfari for his flight photograph.

In the next blog I will write about what we saw at the near-by town of Dhalkyut and on the way back to Salalah.

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