Saturday, 27 December 2014

Mughsail in late December

I have visited the khawrs as often in the last month as before and when I have they haven't produced any new birds. However that is not to say that the birding isn't good and varied.

Yesterday I went west to Khawr Mugsail for the first time in over three weeks.

There were plenty of ducks, moorhen and coot as well as interesting members of the heron family including intermediate egret.

However the most interesting bird to me was a warbler. I spent about an hour patiently watching the second pool inland for any crake or bittern activity. Suddenly out of the reeds flew a single white spectacled bulbul chased by a clamorous reed warbler.

clamorous reed warbler

Both shot up the hillside next to me and flitted between three small bushes. This enabled me to get good views of an often difficult bird.

The underside of clamorous reed warbler 

It was quite different to the last one I photographed at East Khawr which had much browner hues and was probably the nominate sub species.

see the four primary tips

It had only four primary tips showing so any doubts about it being a clamorous reed warbler or close relative was removed. However the upper parts were very cold. The Indian sub species brunnescens is most likely which some people call Indian reed warbler. However it is even greyer than the birds I used to see at Jubail in eastern Saudi Arabia which were also supposed to me Indian reed warbler. 

However, its tail was notably square and there is the vaguest hint of streaking on the upper breast leaving me some doubts about exact relative.

clamorous reed warbler surveying the scene

Meanwhile down below in the pool, most of the water birds were comfortable with my presence, hidden behind a rock, and swimming freely.

lesser whistling duck

Even the vagrant (and normally noctural) lesser whistling duck was out in the open this time. The regional guide has it only a little larger than garganey but it looked substantially so to me.

lesser whistling duck bathing

While the duck did some feeding (with an unusual action by the way often involving just stretching its neck and skimming the water just below the surface), it spent a lot of time bathing.

northern pintail

Northern pintail was the most numerous duck in this and the first (and much larger pool).

Ferruginous duck

Ferruginous duck was still present from last time.

camels destroying the khawr

I didnt spend as long at the main pool which has a properly built hide. I haven't found it as productive.  Nevertheless it did contain two cotton teal.

I was disappointed to see a herd of camels there one again even though the khawr is fenced off presumably to stop them. They are now inflicting considerable environmental damage.

The coastal pools were also surveyed and had several flamingo, western reef heron and single male mallard duck among other birds.

male mallard

I saw no new birds but the views were interesting nevertheless. New species will be hard to find from now on as I have seen so many in Dhofar. However I did add to my Oman list when I stopped off in Raysut on the way back. I will blog about that next.

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