Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The list slowly builds

In the middle of the week, my main birding is in East Salalah. Time is short in late afternoon after work and not possible every day.

On Tuesday, I managed to snatch some time. My new local patch at East Khawr was my venue again.

It has yet to fail me with the provision of new birds for my growing Oman list. This time there were three more. The first was a sighting of a distant osprey down the coast complete with large fish in claw.

black-tailed godwit

The second was a godwit. I had seen black tailed godwit at the site before. Two were present again. 

I usually remember the following comparisons when trying to separate the two godwits: plainer, longer, straighter, and taller. Black tailed godwit is plainer in almost all plumages, its bill is longer as are its legs, its bill is straighter and finally it is taller not only because of the longer legs but also because it stands more upright. 

second look at black-tailed godwit

So when I saw a bar-tailed godwit at the Khawr it was obvious. This was my second addition to my list on Tuesday.

bar-tailed godwit

As well as seeking out additional birds, I tried once again to take better photos of any of the other birds which had been seen before.

wood sandpiper

I managed to get closer to a wood sandpiper and achieve this. For some reason the common redshank were more relaxed and allowed closer approach too.

common redshank with garganey

The cattle egret were on a tree at the side of the lagoon rather than in the middle as last time. There were more of them too.

cattle egret

Elsewhere the glossy ibis, Eurasian spoonbill and single African sacred ibis were still present as were some of the ruff. However every single one of the 80 Pacific golden plover have moved on.

Heuglin's gull in flight

The third new addition was a gull. Since arriving in Salalah almost three weeks ago, the only gulls I have seen have been Sooty gull.

However on Tuesday, wave after wave of gulls past down the coast in a WSW direction towards Yemen. Very few stopped and when they did it was momentarily. These have been identified as Heuglin's gull which is still thought of my some as a sub species of lesser black backed gull. It is recorded as such by the e-bird database.

Heuglin's gull with greater crested tern

I came close to achieving another species but there is too much uncertainty to claim it.

little bittern or yellow bittern

A little bittern type flew straight across the lagoon as I accidentally flushed it. I had the presence of mind to take out the camera quickly enough for this blurred photo. I can't say conclusively whether it is a juvenile little bittern or yellow bittern which is a shame. Maybe next time.

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