Sunday, 30 November 2014

Wadi Salalah with warblers

Early on Thursday morning I visited Wadi Salalah for the first time in over a month. There is no longer continuous water all across the wadi. However it now consists of large pools, reeds and sedge grasses. This is a habitat I haven't found elsewhere in the city and the birding did prove to be a little different.

For a start I found my first chiffchaff in the country.


It's an uncommon bird in southern Oman. It is so uncommon I saw 202 species ahead of it.

pools at Wadi Salalah

I never thought I would be so happy at seeing this "ordinary" bird.

second view of chiffchaff

Indeed the habitat appeared more amenable to migrant passerines than most others I have seen in Dhofar. Though I have made a mental note to get into the local plantations and see what they can offer. 

third view of chiffchaff

While I only saw one chiffchaff, I observed three great reed warbler in the wadi.

great reed warbler

One was in a barren tree next to the one with the chiffchaff and was very confiding.

second view of great reed warbler

This small cluster of trees over hanging the reeds and in the shade caused by the wadi's side wall were a "purple patch". A male and female shining sunbird also hopped on to them at one stage.

graceful prinia

Several graceful prinia were seen in the wadi including in the same cluster of barren trees.

I suspect there were sedge warbler there but I failed to get any good views.


The site was good for passerines all round.  Among them, bluethroat were easily seen.

second view of bluethroat

Bluethroat were of all ages and both genders.

female or immature bluethroat

Both citrine wagtail and white wagtail were noisily present.

citrine wagtail

Generally in the Salalah area, the number of Turkestan shrike has gone down just as the number of Daurian shrike has gone up. I believe this one is a Daurian shrike. However contrary to what I have read in some sources there are still some Turkestan shrike here and look set for the winter.

Daurian shrike

The pools in the wadi meant waders were a still feature of the bird population.

spotted redshank

Temminck's stint was the most common but in the deeper pools birds such as common redshank and green sandpiper were present. Two spotted redshank were also there. 

Thanks are due to an anonymous commenter who recommended I re-look at the identification which had been common redshank in earlier versions of this blog. I should have been more careful particularly as this wadi is very similar to the muddy estuaries they prefer in winter.

little ringed plover

Little ringed plover was there last time I visited too.

two dunlin

Dunlin was the second most common wader though.


Despite the low water levels, five flamingo were in the deepest water which was only 10-15 centimetres.

greater white fronted goose

Close-by was a greater white fronted goose. There seems to have been a major influx of them in Dhofar this year.

tawny pipit

Next to the wadi is some dry scrub land with scattered trees and birds from that habitat drifted over from time to time. These included tawny pipit and crested lark.

crested lark

One bird in the scrub land which didn't appear in the wadi this time was Ruepell's weaver.

Ruepell's weaver

I was pleased to visit a different an uncommon habitat at wadi Salalah. The next day I went to West Khawr for the first time which only about 2 kilometres from the wadi. There I once again  added to my Oman list. I will blog about that next.


  1. Hi Rob- what a great blog! I just wanted to say that I thought that the Common Redshank you photographed looks more like a Spotted Redshank to me- certainly if I saw that bird in the UK, I would treat it as such. I'm not sure how rare this species would be in Oman?

  2. I thought I saw it in flight but I am very happy to review this one as spotted redshank isn't on my country list yet!