Wednesday, 3 September 2014

The college gardens in Salalah

The college where I now work is small but has some well kept gardens. Even in this small space there is interesting bird activity at the moment.

The most common bird within the college grounds is probably Abyssinian white eye though they are easily missed due to their small size and mobility.

Abyssinian white eye

There are several old Ruepell's weaver nests and a few Ruepell's weaver around. The males are still in breeding plumage though there don't seem to be any active nests at the moment.

the college garden

Off some of the college buildings several pale crag martin are continually hawking for insects.

white spectacled bulbul

The gardens are alive withe sound of white spectacled bulbul.

grey headed kingfisher

I was very happy to see a first year grey headed kingfisher on the site two days running.

common kestrel

The first bird of prey I have seen in Oman has been a common kestrel on the edge of the college grounds.

Indian house crow

Indian house crow is all too common in the city and also in the college gardens.

More pleasantly, I spotted a shining sunbird in the gardens. I understand that the Salalah area is the only area in the Middle East where it can be found at sea level. This part of is the effect of khareef (monsoon) which keeps summer temperatures down and makes the area so green in summer and early autumn. Several other birds from highlands and foothills elsewhere can also be found at sea level here.

Tristram's starling

Two other birds found in the gardens are also very readily seen in the urban city areas. Indeed the pictures were taken there. These are Tristram's starling and Eurasian collared dove.

European collared dove

African collared dove can apparently be found up in the hills. 

In the next blog, I'll report on a longer birding session at East khawr which is a lagoon on the east of the city. This area is teeming with birds and I saw an Omani rarity there.


  1. Great stuff, Rob. Can't wait to get down there - you've seen several lifers for me already. Looking forward to hearing about the rarity.

  2. Andrew, the birding is extremely good as I hope to prove in the next few blogs. Since the rarity I have also added two more lifers and I havent been here a week.