Tuesday, 30 December 2014

December round up at East Khawr

I still visit East Khawr (Khawr Dahariz) about three times each week since it is so close. This is a compilation of some of my sightings during December there.

I am not showing the glossy ibis, ruff, kentish plover, sooty gull, harriers, eagles, herons and ducks such as pintail and northern shoveller that make up the great majority of birds there in winter.

There were three species I saw only on one occasion each during the month.

One was pheasant-tailed jacana. Several birds can be seen every visit to Khawr Taqah and Khawr Rori but I have only spotted a single bird once at East Khawr.

pheasant-tailed jacana

The second was a black-necked grebe. This is quite uncommon this far south.

black-necked grebe

The third was a pallidirostris grey shrike which some call steppe grey shrike.

steppe grey shrike

Unfortunately for me, Clements and the e-bird database don't count it as a separate species from the locally breeding aucheri often called a sub species of southern grey shrike.

second view of steppe grey shrike

 I think they may have it right as recent DNA work shows the two sub species are closely related despite their quite different plumage. Some authorities call them both Asian grey shrike.

African sacred ibis

In complete contrast to the birds I have seen just once at the Khawr, the lone African sacred ibis is there every time. It doesn't vist the near-by farm with the glossy ibis. Actually its preferred associates are spoonbill if present and then intermediate egret. It only associates with glossy ibis when they aren't around. Here it is with two sleeping spoonbill even though it is awake.  Many birds sleep with their backs to the sea at this time of year because of the regular stiff sea breezes.

black headed gull

East Khawr is a good place to see black headed gull early in the morning in winter. They often sleep over night there.

young great white fronted goose

 I have tried to pick out some of the less common sightings among the dusk and geese for this round up. Up to eight greater white fronted goose can be regularly seen at the Khawr. One of the geese is much darker than the others and plainer. It has a vague eye ring too. However I can't make it into anything but a younger greater white fronted goose than the others.

gadwell with northern shoveller

The most common ducks are northern shoveller, garganey and northern pintail. So here is a photo of one of a gadwell with one of the more plentiful northern shoveller.


Wigeon are fairly numerous at Khawr Rori but not at East Khawr.

common snipe

If you visit the Khawr very early in the morning there are usually a couple of common snipe walking around and feeding. They are so concerned with feeding than they are less cautious with people.


Dunlin can be common and sometimes they come very close to the car like this one.

black-tailed godwit

I am still on the look out for the long billed dowitcher reported in the Salalah area a few weeks ago. I survey all the godwits but with no luck so far.

As I have said before recently new birds will be tricky from now on.

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