Thursday 13 November 2014

Greater white fronted geese and yellow-billed kite at Khawr Rori

On Tuesday afternoon, I made the trip to Khawr Rori which is a little further away than my usual weekday journeys.

I was rewarded there by seeing over 40 species in an hour and a half. The highlight was surely a flock of 25 greater white fronted goose.

greater white fronted geese

Khawr Rori is a very large body of fresh water and is clearly a magnet for geese and ducks in the mostly arid Arabian gulf.

flock of greater white fronted geese

They were difficult to view from the east side as the sun was behind them. In poor light they could be mistaken for greylag geese but they were all juvenile greater white fronted geese. The dark feathering at the base of the bill and a dark nail on the bill help identification.

greater white fronted geese seen from the west side

This wasn't the reason I then chose to walk around to the west side. However it did give me better but more distant views of them.

The duck numbers are still increasing. There were northern shoveller, garganey, gadwell, teal, and pintail on the east side.

male northern shoveller in summer plumage

The male ducks were in a baffling array of plumages from full summer to full winter. This was excellent experience at seeing and identifying them for a birder who hasn't seen so many ducks in my time in Arabia.

male northern shoveller in eclipse plumage

In the north west arm of the lake were plenty of moorhen and coot. In the deeper water was a large flock of tufted duck.

Speaking to two French birders I have meet at a couple of sites, I missed a pheasant-tailed jacana there by a few minutes. If I saw every target bird immediately on request, birding would n't be such fun so that bird is still for me to find.

tufted duck

There were so many species its difficult to pick ones out to report on. However the seven adult black-crowned night heron roosting in one tree was noteworthy. 

adult black-crowned night heron

A lone Eurasian spoonbill was near-by. There were over 25 glossy ibis on site too.

Eurasian spoonbill

Most of the terns were white winged black tern.

resting young white winged black tern

There was a complete mix of first year and adult birds.

adult white winged black tern

Two great cormorant were much tamer than the single one seen there on my last visit. Khawr Rori is a reserve and safe from hunters (though hunting is nowhere near as serious as issue as in Saudi Arabia). I think the birds work this out quite quickly.

great cormorant

Among the waders, one notable feature was the sheer numbers of black-tailed godwit. There are large sections of water which suits their height.

black-tailed godwit

I didn't pay as much attention to the large birds as I probably ought to have done.

European roller

European roller are everywhere in Dhofar in winter and Khawr Rori was no exception.

Red-backed shrike

Red-backed shrike are now breaking up the monotony of seeing the two red-tailed shrikes.

Marsh harrier

Once again I saw a Bonelli's eagle which is quite common at the Khawrs along the coast. There were also at least two marsh harrier. The one above I disturbed while it was taking a bath hence its dishevelled look.

It was another bird of prey which gave me a second addition (alongside greaylag goose) to my Oman list on Tuesday. 

yellow billed kite

As I was driving to Khawr Rori in the area of Khawr Taqah, I noticed a bird of prey overhead. I quickly stopped the car and took a few record shots of what turned out to be a yellow-billed kite.

Although it was in the sun, I can see pale feather tips to the mantel and shoulders making it a juvenile bird.

second shot of yellow-billed kite

The Helms regional guide says it is resident no closer than mid Yemen a few hundred kilometres way. However since 2013, Birds of Oman have said it is a localised breeder in southern Oman. It's one to watch over the seasons while I am in Salalah.

No comments:

Post a Comment