Saturday, 11 June 2016

Mudhai and Mutahafah in the heat

Yesterday  I made the long trip to Mazyunah on the Yemen border. Unlike Sarfait which is also on this border, Mazyunah is well inland and is in a desert area.

I stopped off at a couple of places on the way out and a different one on the way back. This blog is about the two nearest to Salalah: Mudhai seen on the way out and Mutahafah on the way back.

Not every bird is attracted to camel pens in the desert but most are. I started in Mudhai with my regular inspection of camel pens immediately on arrival to the village from the Thumrait road.

striolated bunting

Striolated bunting were tucking into camel feed pellets and then flying off to rest.

sand partridge

Sand partridge were shuffling around the site.

desert lark

Desert lark were everywhere.

The numbers of doves of various kinds were well down since my visits in the spring. I failed to see a European turtle dove here this time and only rock dove, laughing dove and one or two European collared dove were around. 

Nile valley sunbird

Mudhai is known for the guarantee or near guarantee of Nile Valley sunbird all year round. Once again they were easily seen as I moved into the village proper.

They are well distributed and not just in the area around the permanent oasis where many birders go to look for them. At the oasis I accidentally flushed several chestnut-bellied sandgrouse as I arrived.

Arabian grey shrike

I looked hard in the village for African collared dove on the wires and on the ground. It's tricky looking for them in palms especially as you don't normally have to work that hard to find them. An Arabian grey shrike was seen on a wire along with several European collared dove. In the end I saw one briefly.

European collared dove

Checking the collared doves on the ground didn't yield any more.

hoopoe lark

A hoopoe lark was a little surprising within a village.

On the way back from Mazyunah I stopped off at Mutahafah for the first time. Mudhai and Mutahafah are equidistant but on either side of the road's police check point.

little green bee-eater

Mutahafah was new for me. It turned out to be a small camel and goat farming village on the edge of a wide wadi. A search on the wadi sides for a target bird: trumpeter finch was fruitless though little green bee-eater was seen.

So I turned back to my faithful regime of inspecting the camel and goat pens.

mountain gazelle

Two mountain gazelle also seem to like what the pens have to offer and were rather tame. I presume this is because they come to the village for the pens and are used to people.

African collared dove

Rather strangely African collared dove out numbered European collared  dove both at the pens and on the wires in the hamlet. This was in contrast to Mudhai which is only 40 kilometres away. Yet at times Mudhai can have many African collared dove too but not yesterday.

Two African collared dove

I would love to know what movements are going on.

In the next blog I will write about Tudho and Mazyunah which were the two furthest places way on Friday. I was pleased with the variety of birds.

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