The birding was satisfactory but not great. As I said in the last blog, birding in the desert can be hit or miss in winter and I had already had two hits on the previous days. Nevertheless it gave me a better feel for mid-winter desert birding in Oman.
I believe I have seen brown-necked raven at the site on every visit no matter what time of year.
Hoopoe lark is another ever present if you look at the edges of the far fields away from the farm house.
steppe grey shrike 1
A grey shrike was problematic. It appeared to have no white patch on its wing though the primary patch could have been hidden. Either way the white on other parts of the wing and adjacent areas was under-developed.
steppe grey shrike 2
The overall pale colouration and the lack of any black loral stripe (a full mask to the eye in adults) ruled out a first winter aucheri (Arabian grey shrike).
steppe grey shrike 3
Having said this, I rate Dowkah farm as the most reliable place to see sandgrouse in Oman. For me it beats Muntasar Oasis. Crowned sandgrouse are relatively rare at Dowkah but they are relatively rare at Muntasar too.
part hidden greater short toed lark
There is no such problems with pipits and wagtails if you are cautious. The tawny pipit in the same fields were much more approachable.
I also picked out a skylark and flushed a common quail here.
The wooded area is often excellent for migrants and much more occasionally for wintering birds. While I was there farm workers were giving it its annual prune and tidy up. This disturbance was not helpful for me on the day but it means that the area will be in good shape for the forthcoming spring migration. The only birds of note were cattle egret by the near-by reservoir and a black redstart in the most shaded area.
several white wagtail
White wagtail were common in patches. Some apparently similar fields had none.
The very last field I visited on the way out turned out to be different and it wasn't apparent from the side. As I walked towards the middle I could see that it had been over-watered. This sometimes happens when the equipment is optimal.
A pallid harrier was flying overhead but it was the birds on the pivot bar and on the ground that were a little different.
two water pipit
There were several water pipit there.
water pipit (summer plumage)
Some were in breeding plumage and others not. Indeed they almost looked like two different species.
water pipit (winter plumage)
The winter plumaged birds have heavily streaked breasts while those in breeding plumage have a unstreaked pinkish buff breasts.
At least two red-throated pipit were in the same field.
Overall this was satisfactory birding but nowhere near as exciting as on the previous two days. I will be back in the desert in few weeks for the early main passage.
List of species seen at Dowkah farm
Common Quail 1
Cattle Egret 12
Pallid Harrier 1
Green Sandpiper 1
Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse 15
Spotted Sandgrouse 24
Eurasian Collared-Dove 80
Common Kestrel 4
Southern Grey/Steppe Grey Shrike 1
Brown-necked Raven 6
Greater Hoopoe-Lark 3
Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark 10
Greater Short-toed Lark 160
Crested Lark 6
Black Redstart 1
Desert Wheatear 13
White Wagtail 55
Tawny Pipit 12
Red-throated Pipit 2
Water Pipit 10
House Sparrow 16