Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Spur winged lapwing at Raysut

On Saturday afternoon I visited the two ends of the water treatment process. First I went to the settling pools and then moved 1.5 kilometres away to the clean water lake. Both places are magnets for birds.

Abdim's stork sunning itself

The settling pools in winter are quite remarkable for the numbers of Abdim's stork that can be found either on the ground there or in the air near-by.

over one hundred Abdim's stork at the settling pool

There were certainly over one hundred at the pools when I arrived and even more in the sky.

a hundred Abdim's stork in the air

There were also several tens of steppe eagle in the sky and a few in near the pools at the same time.

However it the assortment of waders, ducks and other birds that are worth looking hard at because rarities are often seen here. Oscar Campbell and Simon Lloyd found a black tern which I subsequently saw too.

They reported a spur winged lapwing with some red wattled lapwing there too but when I visited a week ago I couldn't see them. Red wattled lapwing is a rare visitor to the Dhofar region while spur winged lapwing is a vagrant to all Oman.

red wattled lapwing

I had almost forgotten about their observation when I saw a single red wattled lapwing at the furthest settling pool from the gate. When it flew off I tracked it and was pleased that it joined three other red wattled lapwing and a single spur winged lapwing that was associating with them.

spur winged lapwing

This became species 221 on my Oman list. Although it is still thought of as a vagrant it seems to becoming quite regular over the past two or three years in Raysut area.

After this, I moved 1.5 kilometres to the clean water setting of the clean treated water lake. It feels quite different.


However there was no special bird there. It doesn't happen every time at every location. Seven flamingo were in the water along with three pintail and at least two little grebe.

wood sandpiper

Waders included wood sandpiper and little ringed plover as well as several black-winged stilt.

little ringed plover

I had visited this site on December 8th too but not published anything on it.

rosy starling

For the record there was a mobile flock of about 30 rosy starling.

three rosy starling

One of them was an adult male in summer plumage. I also came across three nile valley sunbird feeding together. This was the second time I have seen this species at this spot.

Nile valley sunbird

One of them was a male that had just started to moult into breeding plumage. I understand they breed in February in Dhofar.

Nile Valley sunbird moulting into breeding plumage

With so many vagrants already seen, from now on I don't expect to add to my list with any great speed. I will just enjoy the birding and see what happens.

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