Monday, 17 November 2014

Finally a new bird at East Khawr

Most days I swing by East Khawr looking for anything different. When I first arrived in Salalah it provided the majority of new bird sightings. More recently I have seen new species elsewhere first.

It certainly has the highest density of birds in the any of the khawrs and possibly of any habitat in the region.

I went there before breakfast on Friday morning.

The number of flamingo is still growing and now includes adults. The very large flocks of ruff and glossy ibis form the backbone of the bird population.

great cormorant

As for differences, I hadn't seen a great cormorant there before though I have twice at Khawr Rori. It was being harassed by the resident Indian house row which were also mobbing almost any large bird including osprey, marsh harrier and greater spotted eagle.

curlew sandpiper

There was one wader separated from the hundreds of others. I tracked it but it appears to be nothing more than a curlew sandpiper.

sleeping common redshank

It was a little bit unusual for common redshank to allow me so close without screaming off. However I soon realised they were all asleep or half awake.

thirteen sleeping redshank

Among the 150 or so ruff, there were a few with partial summer plumage and a very few with juvenile plumage but nothing more exciting. The ruff so dominate the wader population that it is sometimes difficult to get past them and concentrate on other medium sized waders. They have been present for the past two months too.

juvenile and adult ruff

In the end I decided to go "bush bashing" at the northern end of the Khawr. I am not a great believer in the necessity of early morning birding while next to water since birds need the water all day. However there are exceptions such as for crake and warbler activity.

graceful prina

Certainly the graceful prinia were much more active than in the heat of the later day. I also saw another warbler in the same area as the graceful prinia. 

clamorous reed warbler

It was flitting between the reeds and the closest acacia trees to them. It was also keeping low. I got good views and it turned out to be a clamorous reed warbler. The picture quality is poor and I didn't identify it using pictures but by sight. Nevertheless even in the poor picture the very long but not particularly strong bill is apparent. I count 4 or 5 primary tips showing and so it is short winged and long tailed. The behaviour was also so different from that of a greater reed warbler.

This was a new bird for my Oman list though I had heard them several times before at Khawr Rori.

My visit to East Khawr was only the start of a long birding day. I headed west for the rest of it and I'll report on that next.

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