It had been a few months since I visited here. The place has changed radically for the better. It has been landscaped and the water level is higher than I have ever seen before. The water is clean too.
Well, the ruddy shelduck were easy to find and immediately became bird 305 on my Oman list.
Indeed they were still asleep when I found them.
sleeping ruddy shelduck
The other two species were much more problematic. The common shelduck were nowhere to be seen among the literally hundreds of birds I looked at.
I thought I had found the African spoonbill. Two sleeping spoonbill appeared to have dead skin around the base of the bill.
However when they awoke the leg and bill colours caused doubts. A juvenile African spoonbill has a yellow bill and dark legs. The adult has a grey bill edged pink and dark pink legs. The combination of pink bill and dark legs is consistent with a young European spoonbill.
spoonbill (left) with flamingo
I continued to track them perplexed. I did come across another spoonbill but this one was definitely a European spoonbill. No sign of bare skin here.
In the sky, osprey and steppe eagle were being perpetually hounded by the local Indian house crow.
little grebe, shoveller and garganey
Just a single European coot was observed.
a creche of flamingo
Often the young flamingo keep themselves separate from the older birds. I call this a creche.
I didn't have time before work on Saturday morning to study which waders were present though it was easy to see there were very large numbers of common redshank. Others included ringed plover.
The only gulls on the water were slender-billed gull.
The wagtails near the water were citrine wagtail while those mostly in the shade of the hills were white wagtail.
common redshank with common sandpiper at Raysut
Given the importance of both common shelduck and African spoonbill, I decided to go back to Raysut again the next morning at dawn.
I know common shelduck like mudflats near the sea more than ruddy shelduck so I went first to Raysut beach which is the far end of the wadi that holds the lagoons. I was not successful but among the sleeping whimbrel and Caspian tern, I came across a crab plover.
crab plover and whimbrel
Having failed to find the common shelduck again (and I haven't seen them reported by anyone else since either), I turned my attention back on the spoonbills. I found them at completely the other end of the lagoon from the day before.
They allowed me very close this time. The bare skin looks real enough.
close up of both spoonbills
So I don't know which spoonbill there are! This is two birding sessions running when I have had a bird identification left hanging.
As well as seeing the spoonbills again there were two other highlights of my second visit.
young bonelli's eagle
A young Bonelli's eagle let me close while perched. Next to it on the ground about 30 Indian house crow had massed and sure enough they mobbed it the moment it took off.