Thursday 23 October 2014

Finally a white wagtail

It has been a busy week at work so opportunities for birding during the week have been limited. However I went out to Al Baleed with its lagoon on late Monday afternoon and to Saadah Park on Tuesday afternoon. Both sites are within Salalah city.

The Saadah park visit added to my Oman list with the humble white wagtail. Yellow wagtail and possibly citrine wagtail are more common in winter and white wagtail clearly starts arriving later than either. Many white wagtail winter much further north.

My first white wagtail in Oman

I have been seeing three other species of wagtail here in Salalah for a month now.

white wagtail
In the end I counted three of them.

yellow wagtail

There were also several yellow wagtail present and perhaps more surprisingly one grey wagtail.

Tree pipit

Two pipits are feeding on the ground and I struggled to work out if they were tree pipit or red-throated pipit. Its not so easy in autumn and winter when the red throats disappear. Finally they flew off into trees which was a broad hint they were tree pipit.

clean rump of a tree pipit

Looking at the pictures on return home, it is clear they were tree pipit especially with one photo showing an unstreaked rump on one of the birds.

Scaly-breasted munia

As well as wagtails and pipits, on the lawns most of the time were small flocks of scaly-breasted munia. I have now seen them in all three major city parks.

Spotted flycatcher

Spotted flycatcher is still the most widespread migrant of all. It is seen in so many places with any trees.


In contrast hoopoe, which is also a migrant,  numbers are quite low but can be found in the more shaded and more moist areas. 

white-spectacled bulbul

The park had two typical birds of woodlands and gardens. There were white-spectacled bulbul and grey-headed kingfisher. The latter is still showing no signs of leaving for Africa for the winter.

grey-headed kingfisher

I enjoyed birding in the park and look forward to winter birding there.

The day before I visited Al Baleed which was not as interesting as on my previous visit with fewer and less varied birds. There were less water heron family members in the main water body and less waders at the sand bar near the sea although Pacific golden plover and greenshank were plentiful there.

Female shining sunbird

I inspected the garden there. I am still looking for my first Nile valley sunbird and Palestine sunbird within the country. However I am only picking up shining sunbird which was present there again.

Two Bruce's green pigeon

One small nice surprise at Al Baleed were two Bruce's green pigeon confirming my view that they can be found even at sea level in the Salalah area. I had previously seen them at Dahariz Park which is also by the sea.

Bruce's green pigeon

They were more confiding than most of their species.

Little grebe

The late afternoon light conditions suited their photography as it did with a little grebe there too.

I did manage to get out to bird late Wednesday afternoon too. I'll write about that next.

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