Monday, 22 September 2014

East of East Khawr

On Friday morning instead of walking to East Khawr, I started birding from there which gave me time to continue east along the coast.

curlew sandpiper preening

Unfortunately the peace and quiet of Friday morning was disturbed by the sound of gun fire. This was the first time I had heard hunters in Oman. Though it didn't last long, it did stir up the bird population.

a sign of some summer plumage in a curlew sandpiper

That population hadn't changed much since my previous visit three days before.

male marsh harrier

One change was the arrival of a male marsh harrier which my first in Oman. In the place where I had seen an exhausted bridled tern which did move for over a week was now a pile of feathers. I wonder if the marsh harrier or perhaps a cat had finished it off.

white cheeked tern at East Khawr 

Having finally seen a greater sand plover at Baleed the afternoon before, I set about looking through all the sand plovers at east Khawr. I couldn't definitely call any of them as anything but lesser sand plover.

probable lesser sand plover

I picked one out as a candidate because it looked so large against a near-by Kentish plover. However, I then noticed the residual summer plumage on the breast. In my opinion, the brown markings went too far down for a greater sand plover.

probable lesser sand plover with Kentish plover

After moving on from East Khawr, I walked down the coast. 

I had expected to be looking out seaward especially on the beach. In fact most of my attention was drawn to a fence on my left hand side though there was a curlew as well as the more obvious gulls and Kentish plover.

bridled tern

On the fence was a bridled tern in much better health than the previous one.

singing bush lark

Further down I surprised to see a singing bush lark.

crested lark

Very close-by was the much more expected crested lark.

barn swallow

Arguably the most common bird along the coastal scrub was barn swallow. I wonder if most of them were thinking whether it was necessary to cross the wide ocean to Africa or whether this would be their wintering spot. Either way, it was an obvious log jam.

rufous bush robin

Two other birds on the fence wire were rufous bush robin and spotted flycatcher

It has occurred to me that this fence might be a bigger migrant trap in spring. Birds are more likely to rest there having crossed the ocean. 

green sandpiper

Although I didn't walk out to east Khawr, I did walk back. One of two highlights was seeing a green sandpiper in the banana plantation. They seem to love the murky water under the banana plants.

pale crag martin

The final highlight was a pair of just fledgling pale crag martin. They were continually being fed by two adults. I also noticed how dark there are compared with the sub species in the Riyadh area.

This was an interesting end to the morning. On Saturday I visited places in central Salalah in one of the best sessions since I arrived in the country.

Birds seen on 19 Sept 2014

East Khawr 
African sacred ibis
Glossy ibis
Eurasian spoonbill
Squacco heron
Indian pond heron
Grey heron
Purple heron
Great egret
Little egret
Western reef heron
Marsh harrier  (addition to Oman list)
Black winged stilt
Pacific golden plover
Common ringed plover
Kentish plover
Lesser sand plover
Black tailed godwit
Common redshank
Common greenshank
Wood sandpiper
Common sandpiper
Little stint
Temminck's stint
Sooty gull
White cheeked tern
White winged black tern
European collared dove
Laughing dove
House crow
Crested lark
Graceful prinia
Common myna
Ruepells weaver

Coastal walk East of East Khawr
Laughing dove
Collared dove
Bridled tern
Rufous bush robin
Singing bush lark
Crested lark
Spotted flycatcher
Heuglins gull
Sooty gull
Common redshank
Kentish plover

Notable birds on the walk home
Green sandpiper
Pale crag martin

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