Monday, 8 September 2014

The college environs

Late afternoon on September 2nd, I went for a seriously long walk in the neighbourhood of my new work. There are some farms there and some of the smaller ones are accessible though the largest is not without permission.

grey headed kingfisher

One obvious observation was just how common grey headed kingfisher is at this time of year even within the city.

The walk was my first look at land birds outside the college gardens and although I saw all the same species that were in the gardens, there were several additional birds. Indeed I added 6 to my newly started Omani list.

front view of grey headed kingfisher

The six new ones for me in Oman were African silverbill, crested lark, graceful prinia, common whitethroat, hoopoe and most surprisingly in the city: African paradise flycatcher

African silverbill

The common whitethroat was the first wintering (or passage) warbler I had seen in Oman though I suspect it will be the first of many. In the meantime, graceful prinia appears to be the main or only resident warbler in the Salalah area.

graceful prinia

I always think graceful prinia is amazingly small especially when its tail is discounted. Despite this it is a very noisy bird and I knew it was present by sound long time before seeing the first one.

rear view of graceful prinia

Crested lark was not surprise. The bird below is a young one without much crest yet.

crested lark

If I hadn't seen a flock of rose ringed parakeet outside my flat the evening before at dusk, it would have been another add to the list. This bird is very common in the farms especially among the palm trees.

rose ringed parakeet

On this walk I managed to photograph a couple of shining sunbird which had also previously been seen fleetingly in my collage gardens.

female shining sunbird

Most males are in breeding plumage but unfortunately the one I settled on was in some sort of eclipse.

 a male shining sunbird

Two birds which I normally associate with water were present on the farms. Several common sand piper were clustered around one field and a grey heron was near-by.

common sandpiper

There is a very humid and damp feeling throughout the fields in the kareef (monsoon) season. There are also pools in some areas where over-watering has taken place. Clearly this environment is compatible with both the common sand piper and the grey heron seen.

grey heron

On Friday, a few of my new work colleagues and I visited Wadi Darbat. I managed several hours of birding and the rewards were very good. The next blog will report on that.

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