Saturday 25 October 2014

Directly north of Salalah

Yesterday, I birded the area around Gogob and then down to Sahlnout. This is directly north of the city in the hills.

Most hotspots based on the hills and springs are north east of the city. In other words they are a little further east of where I went yesterday.

I was looking to see what this area has to offer and was specially interested in finding Palestine sunbird which is an upland bird in Oman.

The great majority of the birding was in woodlands by choice even though other terrain such as grassland exists there.

golden oriole

Unfortunately I failed to find the sunbird although I did see one Shining sunbird.

However there was good birding to be had. For a start I saw eight golden oriole overall in four different places.

male Shining sunbird

Ruepell's weaver was very common in the woods especially in the damper areas.

young Ruepell's weaver

Needless to say, I found a Dideric cuckoo next to one of the larger Ruepell's weaver groups.

Dideric cuckoo

Again, it was a young bird. I believe the adults have left for Africa.

Other common woodland birds included cinnamon-breasted bunting, grey headed kingfisher, laughing dove and the migrant spotted flycatcher. Red-backed shrike was also seen regularly.

Abyssinian white eye 

Abyssinian white eye was arguably the most common bird of all in the thicker woods roaming around in mobile flocks.


Once again blackstart was seen. I am no longer surprised to see this bird normally of dry terrain but in woods in Oman.

graceful prinia

Birds seen less often included African paradise flycatcher and graceful prinia

steppe eagle

Looking up from the woods, I saw three steppe eagle during the day and several kestrel.

European roller was common, not in the woods but on wires.

Tristram's starling was also common but only next to the villages.

pale crag martin

In the air, the most regularly seen bird was pale crag martin though barn swallow and swifts were usually flying with them. I didn't look at the swifts well enough to see if there were any other than the local Forbes-Watson swift

The mountain road came down right next to Ayn Sahlnout. I decided to spend half an hour there before the trip was finished.

citrine wagtail

Citrine wagtail is proving to be the most regular sight of all the wagtails at Khawrs and Ayns (lagoons and springs). A grey wagtail was spotted at Ayn Sahlnout too.

wood sandpiper

Both purple heron and grey heron were present as were the trio of wood sandpiper, green sandpiper and common sandpiper.


The duck population seems to have dwindle to a single garganey since my last visit.

grey-headed kingfisher

There wasn't time for a full look at the birds but there was one last chance of the day to see an other grey-headed kingfisher. The rest had been seen in woods but its habitat is more varied than that.

Daurian shrike

Finally, I must report that I went back to Raysut treated water lake before breakfast yesterday and before all my other birding. I went to seek out the exotic looking shrike I had seen on Wednesday afternoon.

It was still there but turned out to be not so exotic. Even so it was the most highly coloured red-tailed shrike I have even seen. It most closely matched a male Daurian shrike though its tail was towards the extreme dark end of the spectrum and its supercilium was at the whiter end of the spectrum. Its undersides were brunt orange with only a pale patch in the very middle of the belly.

There is so much variation in this "two"species.

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