Sunday, 8 May 2016

Sticky Al Ansab

I made a fleeting visit to Muscat last Tuesday on business. It gave me a 90 minute opportunity on that morning to call on Al Ansab wetland from dawn onwards.

It was hot and sticky even at that time. Furthermore my one target species was streaked weaver. There are only about six there and this was my fourth trip. I failed to find them. It seems my run of extremely good luck either side of New Year has completely deserted me this spring.

The abundance of black-crowned night heron did little to raise my spirit.

adult black-crowned night heron

There were both juvenile and adult black-crowned night heron present. They often migrate separately.

young black-crowned night heron

The nosiest birds as is often the case were red-wattled lapwing. They are breeding at the moment so one move towards their unseen young ones provokes even more sound.

red-wattled lapwing

European collared dove, purple sunbird, graceful prinia and house sparrow are common in the trees and bushes.

European collared dove

Moorhen are everywhere especially on the new beds of water hyacinth which the water company hope will attract more exotic species even jacanas which aren't normally seen in the north of the country.

common moorhen

As well as large numbers of grey heron, black-winged stilt and a few squacco heron there were other birds. Little grebe were constantly diving in the main water bodies and two whiskered tern were flying over the largest body.

little grebe

At least two late ducks had lingered. One was a male teal while the other was a female ferruginous duck.

ferruginous duck

The little green bee-eater sub species in the Muscat area is much duller than the ones in Dhofar.

little bee-eater

I searched very hard for streaked weaver all my time there. I know the bird well from the large colonies near Riyadh. I know there like reeds nevertheless I spent some time looking at two very young birds hidden in tamarisk which in the end I concluded were very young house sparrow.

very young house sparrow

It will take another visit someday to find those weavers.

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