Sunday, 7 December 2014

Egyptian vulture at Sadh

Saturday is the one day of the week that I can travel far since I have a standing personal engagement every Friday morning. There was temptation to bird some of the six rare birds seen locally by visiting UAE birders Oscar Campbell and Simon Lloyd. Instead I resisted making the day full time twitching and kept to my original plan.

That plan was to head out east on the coast road past Mirbat.

Egyptian vulture at Sadh

After four hours of poor results I had deep regrets about the plan. I decided to bird more intensively in the area around the fishing village of Sadh. Even here little green bee-eater, Tristram's starling, white spectacled bulbul and blackstart were the only main land birds. The best sea bird was a lone socotra cormorant.

I had just decided to head back and take in Khawr Rori on the way home when two near adult Egyptian vulture flew straight over my head.

second Egyptian vulture at Sadh

While Egyptian vulture is locally common in parts of northern and central Oman, I never expected to see one (or even two) in Dhofar. Suddenly I viewed the long trip in a different light.

After the vulture sighting I did go to Khawr Rori. It was actually the sight of one of the rare birds seen by the UAE duo. They had seen a long billed dowitcher associating with black-tailed godwit.

grey plover

I got distracted by a pair of grey plover.

second grey plover

As I moved round the khawr searching for godwits I saw several osprey.


I could see many birds clustered around the flamingo both on land and on the water. The flamingo were on the western side. I walked round to see if they included my target passing a large group of greater white fronted goose on the way on the southern sand bar.


At the water side were five great cormorant. The ducks in the water near the flamingo were mostly wigeon

cotton teal

However in the water with them were two cotton teal, a bird I had never seen until the day before.

black-tailed godwit

I finally found a group of five black-tailed godwit. I spent some time inspecting them and they allowed me very close but there was no long billed dowitcher among them.

second view of black-tailed godwit

As I was contemplating looking for more godwits, I received a text message from Oscar and Simon telling me that two of their finds yesterday had still been at the Raysut settling pools that morning.

I had a dilemma, should I continue looking at Khawr Rori or head straight to the settling pools to seek out their finds.

Given that the settling pools are a confined space and there were two chances, I chose to switch to Raysut.

This was technically a "twitch". I will blog about the result next.


  1. Hi Rob. What were all these rarities then?

  2. Andy, a merlin at the farm, little swift and alpine swift at Ayn Hamran and long billed dowitcher at Khawr Rori. You will have to wait for tomorrow to see what I twitched at the settling pools!

  3. Awww, keeping me in suspense....... That's only 4 of the 6.

    Keep looking for the dowitcher - it may well turn up again.