Thursday, 27 November 2014

Three places on the east side

This blog is a compendium of of the highlights of visits to three places on the eastern edge of the city of Salalah which were visited either on Tuesday evening or early Wednesday. This was at the beginning of a four day weekend here.

The three places were Ayn Razat on Tuesday evening, East Khawr on Tuesday afternoon and dawn on Wednesday and,  Ayn Hamran still early on Wednesday.

At Ayn Razat birding was quite light except for the appearance of a blue rock thrush in a tree next to the car park. This was one of only three birds on my country list where I didn't previously manage a photograph. 

blue rock thrush

Otherwise birds were restricted to Ruepell's weaver, common sandpiper, blackstart, laughing dove, collared dove, pale crag martin, white spectacled bulbul  and cinnamon breasted bunting.


Ayn Hamran the next morning gave me a new bird for my Oman list. It was a masked shrike perched right by where I had parked my car and was a treat just as I was going to leave.

masked shrike

A few minutes earlier I had been watching a male and female common teal at the bottom end of the spring.

teal drake

I discovered that in the very yellow light of early morning my camera over compensates for yellow. The wing bars in the photos appear blue. Thanks are due to experts on BirdForum for pointing this out.

teal duck

There is always varied birding at Ayn Hamran. This time I concentrated on birding near the stream.

grey wagtail

Both grey wagtail and citrine wagtail are ever present there in winter. Despite being a hillside spot, several waders are too.

citrine wagtail and green sandpiper

The visit to East Khawr at dawn on  Wednesday also gave me an addition to my Oman list. This time it was a black headed gull.

juvenile black headed gull

This bird was in with group of about 15 slender billed gull. It shows partly juvenile and partly first winter plumage. The two vague dark smudges from the eye up to the mid crown and the one from the black spot up the rear crown are visible. The bill has a much more extensive dark tip than a juvenile slender-billed gull too. There are other features that match black-headed gull as well.

a few cattle egret

This was an excellent start to the morning. It was only my second dawn visit to the khawr. What was most apparent was the shear numbers of cattle egret that roost there only to disappear during the day.

many cattle egret

The geese and ducks seen the day before appear to spend the night there too.

greater white fronted goose

While there are plenty of ducks at East Khawr. It is not the premier site for them in the Salalah area.

female gadwell at east Khawr

Khawr Rori has many more and is more likely to show up a rarity because of that.

tufted duck at east Khawr

Khawr Rori was where I spent the rest of my birding day on Wednesday. The next blog will report on that.

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