Tuesday 28 October 2014

Peaceful Khawr Soly

On leaving Ayn Hamran on Saturday morning, I headed straight to the near-by coast. The closest khawr is Khawr Soly (Swali).

It's one of the lesser known ones but one of least disturbed because access is quite hard by car. It's peaceful and I always get some sort of result there.

mixed waders

There were small numbers of a wide selection of waders and other water birds.

Pacific golden plover, grey plover, Kentish plover, lesser sand plover and greater sand plover were all present.

white winged black tern

The terns were white-cheeked tern, common tern and white-winged black tern.

red-necked phalarope

The waders included black-winged stiltcommon sandpiper, curlew sandpiper and dunlin as well as a single red-necked phalarope. I often wonder why the occasional red-necked phalarope are on-shore while thousands of the rest are wintering on the sea near-by.

walking red-necked phalarope

There were garganey and gadwell present. These were my first sightings of gadwell in Oman and the second addition to my Oman list of the day.

female gadwell

The grass at the water's edge held some interesting birds too. There was a common snipe which I managed to see before he saw me. I carefully walked round to get a better look, only for it to start walking (rather than more typically, noisy flight) too. Unfortunately it walked into longer grass.

common snipe

It's wide dark loral stripe and its scapular pattern easily separate it from the less common pin-tailed snipe.

walking common snipe

There were several citrine wagtail in the grass and on the wetland fringes. However a pipit caught my attention. There were three pipits which I knew were either tree pipit or red-throated pipit. In autumn they are very difficult to tell part. The latter bird doesn't have a red throat at this time of year and this is especially true of first winter birds which have never had such a throat in their short lives.

The habitat favoured red-throated pipit. One of birds had a hint of a coloured throat (see picture).

red-throated pipit

Red-throated pipit have slightly stronger streaking down the flanks but I find this very difficult to judge. Its much better to get a view of the rump if you can where the difference in streaking is much greater.

streaked rump on red-throated pipit

These birds were indeed red-throated pipit. This was the second addition to my Oman list at this khawr and my third of the day.

blue-cheeked bee-eater

Other migrants were present including spotted flycatcher and blue-cheeked bee-eater. I am looking forward to many more.

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