Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Cream coloured courser near Mughsail

On Saturday, I went to the fishermen's marina at Raysut and near-by coast on the way out and the Eftelqoot area on the way back. Eftelqoot is an area of steppe above coastal cliffs.

The Raysut birding this time was a little disappointing. The Eftelqoot birding was the opposite.

sooty gull

At the marina I walked out to the end of the harbour wall. There is unfortunately lots of plastic flotsam but I saw this an opportunity to see if any pelagic species were resting on any pieces.

The best I managed was a greater crested tern and several gulls.

desert wheatear on the harbour wall

I also looked for Pallas's gull among the many tens of gulls in the harbour but with no success.

whimbrel and curlew

One minor interesting point was when I had the opportunity to compare a whimbrel with a curlew side by side. The whimbrel is so much smaller and with the very long bill of the eastern sub species of curlew we mostly get here, I don't see how they can be confused.

cream-coloured courser

Eftelqoot on the way back was very interesting even with the light fading. The dominant species was Tristram's starling near the small village and in the bushes. However out on the plain, I saw a group of cream-coloured courser. This was a first for me in Oman. They actually flew straight over my head when they arrived in the area so it was just a case of watching where they landed and heading for it.

cream-coloured courser

I made the mistake of following them on foot. They can really run fast if they choose to.

Tristram's starling

Barely minutes later I came across my first streaked scrub warbler in the country. I failed to photograph it but I am showing the hillside it was on. The courser had been seen on the plain below.

hillside at Eftelqoot

There were also Arabian partridge on the plain near a thin line of bushes. The groups was eleven birds strong and was quite confiding.

Arabian partridge

I will certainly visit the area again. I ran out of daylight just as I started to tour around.Some the last birds I observed were black-crowned sparrow-lark. The one below was photographed through the car window.

female or immature black-crowned sparrow lark

I don't get time to bird on Sundays nor usually Mondays. However I snatched one hour on Monday to visit the perimeter of Sahnout farm which is very close to home. I will blog about that next.

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