Sunday, 7 December 2014

Cotton teal at Mughsayl

On Friday I decided to go back to the Mughsayl area. I particularly wanted to bird inland beyond the khawrs (lagoons) into the wadi.

Nevertheless since I was passing the khawr, I had to look in. On the first and largest inland pool was a single cotton teal as well as several other ducks.

cotton teal

This was a lifer and brought my Oman list up to 214 species.

second view of cotton teal

It was swimming apart from the other ducks but was apparent almost immediately by its small size.

third view of cotton teal

This is yet another Indo-Malay species which comes across to Oman in small numbers to winter.

Northern pintail

The duck population seems to change every time I visit. This time the largest number on this pool was northern pintail.

ferruginous duck

There were four ferruginous duck too.


Moorhen and coot were of similar numbers to the ducks.

Intermediate egret

There have been intermediate egret present at Mughsayl on every visit I have made in the past 6 weeks. This time I counted four.

black crowned night heron

I walked to the second pool at the back which had previously provided me with some of my best birds. On the way I met a juvenile black-crowned night heron.

pheasant-tailed jacana

Even from a distance I could see a pheasant-tailed jacana.

white wagtail

Still walking towards the pool, a white wagtail blocked my way.

Mallard and a single gadwell

I didn't stay long at the pool which housed 12 mallard and a few gadwell. The best birds are often hidden in the reeds and take time to view. I didn't have time if I were to go into the wadi.
long billed pipit

In many ways the wadi was a disappointment but it was always going to be speculative birding. The tawny pipit and long billed pipit thinned out as I went further in.

desert lark

Desert lark became the dominant bird.

Asian desert warbler

An Asian desert warbler was the only one seen but it was confiding.

Asian desert warbler looking straight ahead

Blackstart and Arabian wheatear were easy to see.

male Arabian wheatear

Remarkably this is the first time in the whole of Arabia that I have seen them at sea level.

After almost two hours in the wadi I turned round and birded the smallest and most inland pool on my way out.

little grebe

Little grebe,  teal  and moorhen were obviously present. Other birds were almost certainly there but even better hidden. Birding there pools often requires patience and lots of time.

striolated bunting drinking

The wadi has a healthy population of striolated bunting. Indeed I would recommend it as the best place to easily find this often difficult species. Most of them can be found close to the pools too.

On the way back to Salalah, I dropped into the Eftelqoot area. I didnt see any cream-coloured courser this time but Arabian partridge were observed again.

spotted thick-knee

I walked into three spotted thick-knee in a shallow wadi there. I have always seen them relatively close to water before but not this time unless you count the sea which is 500 meters away under some very steep cliffs.


Surprisingly I saw very few birds of prey all day. There was a kestrel in the Eftelqoot area and an Eastern Imperial eagle on the main road a little closer to Salalah.

Eastern Imperial eagle

A bird of prey was one of my best sightings on Saturday. I will blog about that next.


  1. Congratulations on the CPG. It was only a matter of time before you saw one!

  2. Thanks. That is true for a few more birds too. I need real patience from now on.