Saturday, 6 December 2014

Three additions to the list from the west side

I met up with Oscar Campbell and Simon Lloyd from UAE on Wednesday afternoon to bird Raysut settling pools and the more attractive Mughsayl.

Before we meet up I birded the near-by Raysut treated water lake which is a fresh as the settling pools are dirty.

black crowned night heron

The cast at most sites changes every time I visit with some fixtures. For example every time I have been to the treated water lake in the past two months, there have been a small group of juvenile black-crowned night heron.

black necked grebe

As for the new comers, I was pleased to see my first black necked grebe in Oman. It was one of the birds I had been looking out for.

black necked grebe and little grebe

I had thought this lake was a possible location for this grebe as little grebe breed here.


The water is deep enough for grebes which like to dive and similarly deep enough to attract and keep flamingo.


I tried hard to look particularly at the small birds there but time was short with my meet up looming. Bluethroat were in evidence.

Nile valley sunbird

One sunbird caused identification problems but I am pretty sure it is a Nile Valley sunbird. The bill is short and there are a few flecks of green on the upper back suggesting a male just starting moulting towards breeding plumage. I can just see a little of the yellow of its underparts too. This is the first time I have seen this species in the city.

black headed gull and slender billed gull

It was a pleasure seeing Oscar campbell and Simon Lloyd who are clearly accomplished birders.

While we were at the settling pools the bird cast was varied but not original for me. Apparently it used to have much more cover but has recently been cleared. However Oscar and Simon made a return trip where birding had been good. Such are the vagaries of birding.

While we were all there the scene was dominated by a large number of Abdim's stork and many waders as well as a few terns and gulls.

Intermediate egret

When we moved on to Mughsayl highlights included a varied number of ducks. Oscar, Simon and I saw the lesser whistling duck which was still at the second pool inland. Pheasant tailed jacana were still present too.

Birding in a larger group has advantaged. I am indebted to Simon and Oscar for finding a brown booby on a piece of plastic flotsam out to sea and a socotra cormorant flying near-by. Both of these were new to my Oman list.

brown booby on flotsam

It was a long way out but I just managed to capture a photo of the brown booby. 

Once again  I will say it was a pleasure meeting up with Simon and Oscar. They have since been in touch and tell me they have some quite special birds. This makes me realise there is still much more to see in the Salalah area.

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