Saturday 4 October 2014

Two red-knobbed coots at Khawr Rori

Yesterday was a late start to birding following breakfast at the Crown Plaza, Salalah. After all it is a holiday week ahead.

Luckily, Khawr Rori is only  about half an hour's drive west out of the city if you go direct and this was my main destination.

Actually, I didn't go direct, I popped into Khawr Sawli first but I'll report on that at the end because the news from Khawr Rori was so good.

red-knobbed coot

I may have added only two birds to my Oman list but one of them was quite special. It was red-knobbed coot. The knobs almost disappear in winter but these birds (there were two) were still retaining some of their summer look.

another angle on red-knobbed coot

The dark feathering around the bill is round and not sharply inserted into the bill as in a common coot. So there is no sign of any hybridisation which can happen.

two red-knobbed coot

The Helms guide to the region describes the bird as a vagrant to Oman and UAE and, not found elsewhere in the region.  It is not on the Oman country list at all in e-bird database.

However in correspondence with Jens Eriksen, I now know it breeds at West Khawr some 50 kilometres west of where I saw them.

great cormorant

The other addition to my list was a single great cormorant. It sat on the same rock all the time I was there.

Khawr Rori

Khawr Rori is a large expanse of water and must rank alongside Lake Maliki in south west Saudi Arabia as the two largest freshwater bodies in the Gulf.

cattle egret with glossy ibis

I really didn't have enough time to explore it properly. I would recommend a whole day. It was obvious the heron family was well-represented with little egret, western reef heron, squacco heron, cattle egret, glossy ibis, purple heron and grey heron present. There were probably other members too which I missed.

white-cheeked tern

Terns definitely included white cheeked tern, gull-billed tern, whiskered tern and white winged black tern. I suspect others were also there.

black tailed godwit

I concentrated on the larger waders this time. There were several black-tailed godwit, common redshank and common greenshank.

little green bee-eater

Land birds included plenty of Tristram's starling and at least one little green bee-eater.

As I wrote earlier, I actually stopped off at Khawr Swali first. This is smaller Khawr but which is quite isolated. It was not without highlights. Indeed one of the first birds seen in the day was an accidentally flushed Bonelli's eagle there.

Bonelli's eagle

Later I also saw a marsh harrier at the site.

Marsh harrier

Like khawrs seemingly there were plenty members of the heron family and waders. This one had more than its fair share of Kentish plover, lesser sandplover and greater sandplover.

grey plover

The one grey plover stood out from the crowd.

spotted flycatcher

I still am not seeing too many migrant passerine chats and warblers. Only spotted flycatcher is abundant .  I will go into the hills today and see if that is any better.

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