Friday 17 October 2014


Yesterday afternoon, I finished work a little early at the start of the weekend. I decided there was time for some local birding. I chose to go to the Raysut area on the west side of the city.

I visited the city rubbish dump first. Though there were more birds than during my last visit, there were no new ones. 

So I moved on to the wadi immediately west of the Raysut industrial area which is also known as Salalah lagoons.

Eastern imperial eagle stretching

There were 70 or so white stork present along with 10 greater flamingo. There were also several grey heron, garganey duck and northern shoveller as well as a few assorted waders.

However sitting on a large rock close to the white stork and especially close to a grey heron was an Eastern Imperial eagle. This was my first in Oman.

Eastern imperial eagle moments later

It gave me good views for a few minutes.

Eastern imperial eagle on the look out

It is ironic because I went to the rubbish dump first to look for any eagles and other birds of prey except for steppe eagle.

steppe eagle in flight

Instead the number of steppe eagle had multiplied from 30 during my last visit to about 120 this time. However there were no minority birds of prey and only two white stork.

another steppe eagle on the ground

With the success of the Eastern Imperial eagle, I moved down the wadi to where it meets the sea. The wadi is dry there but the worn rocky coast has been brimming with birds each time I visit.

slender-billed gull

The predominant bird was still sooty gull but with a few Heuglin's gull and my first Caspian gull (which Clements counts as the same species as steppe gull already seen). Six grey heron were wading in the sea. Other waders included two whimbrel.

great crested tern and sandwich tern

However it was the terns that caught my interest. The most common by far was still great crested tern but among them were two sandwich tern.

preening great crested tern and sandwich tern

I had failed to see any in my three years in Saudi Arabia and it was first for me here. This was one of my most pleasing first sightings as I have waited so long in the gulf for it.

a second sandwich tern

The second tern had hardly any yellow tip to the bill which is the characteristic which gives me quickest confirmation of identification. Now all I need to see is its very close relative, the lesser crested tern.

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