Saturday, 15 November 2014

Pheasant-tailed Jacana and hobby at Wadi Darbat

On Thursday afternoon, I went to Wadi Darbat. Two visiting French birders had told the day before that they had seen a pheasant-tailed Jacana there.

They said it was at the far western end of the river. When I arrived the same group of German tourists that moved me on from Ayn Razat were there. It was not ideal for birding. However the tourist group moved on after 20 minutes or so.

I patiently waited but there was no Jacana. It was only when I walked another 300 metres or so east along the river that I noticed it. It had moved position, possibly to be in a place with less disturbance.

First view of pheasant tailed Jacana

This was a lifer for me and I was very pleased that the bird was in the open giving good views. The only Jacana I have seen before was an African Jacana in two African countries. It is called "lily trotter" there. This one likes walking on floating vegetation too.

pheasant tailed Janaca with an itch

I have been here 10 weeks now and this was my first one yet my guide book says some are resident. Perhaps I have just been unlucky.

another view of pheasant tailed Jacana

The bird is a juvenile as the breast band is not fully black.

The birds of prey are often very interesting at Wadi Darbat. Thursday was no exception.

My first sighting was an Eastern Imperial eagle which was being mobbed by two fan-tailed raven.

Then two Eurasian hobby arrived and perched for a prolonged period on trees about 30 metres apart.

first hobby perched

This was another first for me in Oman indeed I failed to see any in my time in Saudi Arabia.

first hobby stretching

One of the Eurasian hobby flew for a while before returning to perch.

second hobby in flight

The third species of bird of prey seen was a sub-adult Bonelli's eagle.

Bonelli's eagle

Bonelli's eagle is locally common here. the most ordinary bird of prey was a kestrel seen as I left the wadi at the end.

western reef heron

I was interested to see two western reef heron so far inland and at elevation. One was a pale morph and the other was a dark morph as shown in the photo.

purple heron

There were also grey heron, purple heron,  squacco heron and an Indian pond heron present.

Tree pipit

My one disappointment again was the lack of migrant passerines. I found only citrine wagtail near the river, white wagtail in shaded areas and tree pipit in the woods.

Northern pintail

The duck population has been different each time I have visited Wadi Darbat. This time I could only seen northern pintail. Perhaps longer term birds prefer the khawrs on the coast.

Tawi Atair is near wadi Darbat but higher up the mountainside. I went there next on Thursday and finally observed my target bird there. I will blog about that next.

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