Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Owls at Rakhyut

Last Friday I went birding in the far west of Oman near the border with Yemen. I was with two other birders, Saeed Shanfari who is Omani and Hedi Khecharem who is Tunisian. This was a truly international trio.

One of our objectives was to see desert Owl. This we achieved much more easily than I had expected near Rakhyut.

We went to a place previously identified by Saeed and a desert owl was seen before 7pm.

desert owl looking straight (by Hedi Khecharem)

These pictures were taken by Hedi Khecharem. I am much obliged that he is allowing me to reproduce them here. However please note these pictures are his property and should not be reproduced anywhere else without his permission.

desert owl looking up (by Hedi Khecharem)

The area was surprisingly wooded as the literature says the bird likes desert and semi-desert hence the name. It was even more surprising that the owl was first seen in a tree.

desert owl looking sideways (by Hedi Khecharem)

We heard several Arabian scops owl near-by but did not pursue them. However we did attempt to find barn owl which had previously been seen here. 

We were unsuccessful with this yet we came across not one but two Arabian spotted eagle owl while driving around. We simply bumped into them without any tapes or indeed purposeful search.

first Arabian spotted eagle owl

Saeed had told us beforehand that there was a high density of the Arabian spotted eagle owl here.

Arabian spotted eagle owl (by Hedi Khecharem)

Hedi Kecharem has kindly allowed me to publish more of his pictures. The one above is also of the first Arabian spotted eagle owl we came across.

Within two hours of sunset, we decided to conclude the session. However as we were driving away, we came across a second Arabian spotted eagle owl.

second Arabian spotted eagle owl

Saeed noticed it almost at the same moment that he pointed out two Arabian wolf.

second Arabian spotted eagle owl (by Hedi Khecharem)

Hedi was on the better side of the car to photograph this bird and the picture above is his.

We all agreed this had been a very productive session. Indeed desert owl was a lifer for me and Hedi. It became bird number 298 on my Oman list too. 

I will write next about the birds seen in daylight in the Rakhyut area. 


  1. Great stuff Rob and very nice selection of owls too! Myself and a friend are birding our way down to Salalah next week, if you had a moment to drop me an email so we could catch up on some local bird news then we would be eternally grateful (tom.aladin.bedford"at"gmail.com). Keep up the superb blog, regards, Tom.

  2. Brilliant, looks like a wonderful birding session