Thursday 30 October 2014

Rush round the city

On Tuesday afternoon, I rushed around some birding sites near the city. It's not my usual method of birding. I usually bird in one place intensely before moving on. 

However I  know some good birders who use this technique very well.

In this case it served me well. The last place I visited as the sun was waning give me another addition to my Oman list.

This last place was the rocky but smooth coast just east of the port.

lesser crested tern showing big crest

Here among a cluster of terns and a few gulls I came across a lesser crested tern.

lesser crested tern

It was good to be able to compare it with the three greater crested tern which were a few metres away.

It is noticeably a little bit smaller. The bill is orange as opposed to yellow and the overall mantle and wing colours are lighter.

greater crested tern (foreground)

There were also four Caspian tern present.

Caspian tern (foreground)

The two smallest terns in the group were adult common tern.

common tern

The only gulls in with the terns were slender-billed gull although there were large numbers of sooty gull and Heuglin's gull elsewhere on the shore.

slender-billed gull

One of the gulls was a very smart looking adult.

The main reason for this change in my birding technique was the weather. October is a hotter month than September in Dhofar. Indeed it is the second hottest month on average after May. Birding from the car can be sustained longer than on foot during the afternoons.

Hopefully November will be cooler as normal.


My dash sites began at East Khawr which has not provided much change in birds over the past two weeks. The curlew was seen there. The site has a very high number of glossy ibis and ruff at the moment but nothing remarkable.

striolated bunting

Next stop was Ayn Razat where the best sighting was an adult striolated bunting coming to drink in the heat. This is by far the best and prolonged view I have had of this bird.

striolated bunting about to drink

The rufous wings, almost unmarked mantle and black speckled chest distinguish adult striolated bunting from cinnamon-breasted bunting. I find the juveniles much more difficult.

citrine wagtail

My last stop before the rocky coast was Ayn Sahalnout. The ducks and terns have gone and the water level is a little lower but there of now several common snipe. However the citrine wagtail are one of the most attractive features.

citrine wagtail looking ahead

This weekend looks set to be a little cooler and there is some evidence that the migration is heavier. Let's see what the weekend brings.


  1. Now that's a Striolated! Drab and dingy.

  2. Andrew,

    This one was obvious. Near it were two other buntings which were clearly juvenile and I couldn't be sure once again which bunting they were. Rob

  3. Did you get a photo of them too?

  4. I'm afraid not. I was in a rush. Just pleased to get the adult. R