Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Good birds at Ayn Hamran

I went again to Ayn Hamran yesterday afternoon to try and find the elusive Arabian golden-winged grosbeck and once again I failed.

Nevertheless the birding was very good and I added another bird to my country list.

In the heat of the afternoon not many locals or birders come up to the Ayn. I think that is why 15 or so Arabian partridge had decided to walk around the picnic area. It was quite a sight when I arrived.

eight Arabian partridge

They didn't immediately disappear when I started walking around either. I hear them almost every time I visit but only the last twice have I seen them there.

black crowned tchagra

As is getting usual, I saw another black crowned tchagra. This one was spending time on the ground.

After an hour or so at the top end of the spring looking mostly for grosbecks, I moved into the middle area with its stream and associated trees as well as cattle herd. The song thrush and red-breasted flycatcher which I had seen about three weeks ago were both in almost the same places as before.

dappled sun on a red-breasted flycatcher

I tried really hard to capture a good photo of the flycatcher this time. Last time all I got was a very poor record shot. However once again his movement (it is a he) and the dappled sun shining into the shade looked set to stop me. The flycatcher of course would not move out of the shade.

male red-breasted flycatcher

In the end I got a passable photo although the light was poor.

Abyssinian white eye

Several Abyssinian white-eye were foraging in the same shaded area.

adult Bonelli's eagle

I moved further down into the lower end of the spring. My best sighting here was a resting adult Bonelli's eagle.

Bonelli's eagle in flight

It made a screeching noise and a few moments later a second adult arrived and they both flew off.


Soon after this I decided to give the top end one more go since my car was parked there. As I walked back I picked out a female sunbird which I tentatively think is a Nile Valley Sunbird since these are the only one of the three locally that have any type of yellow wash on the underparts.

At the top end, I still had no luck with the grosbeck but I did pick out a female Eastern Orphean warbler. This could be overlooked among the far more numerous Arabian warbler in the area.

The head alone is enough to identify it. The female has a mid grey head with dark and contrasting ear coverts. Adult Eastern Orphean warbler also have a pale iris but no Arabian warbler does.

One of the grey spots, which are often lighter in winter, is visible in the lower vent area too.

female eastern Orphean warbler

This was species 227 on my Oman list and excellent compensation for not seeing the grosbecks yet again.

I wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas. We have been given the day off here and I am sure I will fit at least some birding in.

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