Saturday 29 November 2014

Khawr Rori good for ducks and jacana

I spent nearly three hours at Khawr Rori on Wednesday from late morning until early afternoon. thankfully at this time of year it doesn't get too hot.

I went for general birding but I had noted that there was a recent claim of black-headed heron there and I also wanted to see if any black-necked (eared) grebe had arrived. Unfortunately I saw neither yet it was still a good session. i saw 47 species which is probably the highest count in one place for me in Oman.

Last time the big surprise for me was the presence of 25 greater white fronted goose. There were still there but have moved to spend more time on the grass bar between the khawr and the sea.

greater white fronted goose

This wasn't where I started out. That was in the north west corner where there is lots of low cover and birding is usually very interesting. 

The startling news is that I observed seven (7) pheasant-tailed jacana which doesn't seem a very shy bird to me. 

pheasant-tailed jacana swimming

Three were seen swimming in the water. At the same time two were near-by walking over some floating vegetation. 

pheasant-tailed jacana walking on vegetation

Finally having seen these I walked on only to see two more flying in the direction of the others.

pheasant-tailed jacana flying

All this happened around 11.30 am.

northern shoveller and wigeon

Khawr Rori had well over 100 ducks on the water. The dabbling ducks were mostly in the southern seaward end and in the middle while the diving ducks were generally further towards the back in the north west corner.

There were at least ten wigeon. The first one I saw was resting next to a shoveller.

two wigeon

There were several more on the water. It was species number 201 on my Oman list.

common pochard

The diving ducks were most tufted duck. However there were at least three ferruginous duck and one common pochard. This became species 202 on my list.  That is now all the ducks I am likely to meet down here with the exception of the rare cotton teal also known as cotton pygmy goose.

northern pintail

I noticed that many of the dabbling ducks swam near a flock of flamingo. I don't know whether that is meaningful or not. These included gadwell, garganey, pintail and teal as well as the previously mentioned northern shoveller and wigeon.

flamingo and other water birds

Three great cormorant were observed. I have yet to see a Socotra cormorant in Oman though one or two have been reported in the Salalah area this winter.

great cormorant

Among the other birds, I didn't expect to see black-tailed godwit in the long grass. A single bar-tailed godwit was seen elsewhere. 

Despite seeing 47 species, small waders were not present in any numbers. Godwits may well have outnumbered sandpipers.

black-tailed godwit

Most of my attention was directed towards the water. Osprey were seen on both water catching fish and on land resting.


Otherwise land birds included a late migrating group of 3 blue-cheeked bee-eater, three Arabian wheatear, mobile flocks of Ruepell's weaver and a screaming well hidden group of young Tristram's starling in the canopy of a tree.

A late blue-cheeked bee-eater

After this trip I went home for the rest of the day. I decided that a short trip within the city would be a good idea on Thursday. I'll write about that next.


  1. Seven Jacanas? Amazing. Here in the UAE we had our first two ever last winter - none since.

    I had a lifer today - Pied Stonechat - in Abu Dhabi. : )

  2. Andy, congratulations on the pied stonechat. I had a lifer today too. It was a lesser whistling duck. It needs to go through the rarities committee but I have 20 good photos taken close in. Needless to say I am very pleased. I'll blog about in the next few days. Rob

  3. Yes, saw it on Bird Forum. Well done. The photos are really good - you must have got pretty close.

    The Stonechat was quite dull but a satisfying sighting.