Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Asian koel at Ayn Hamran

A late afternoon trip yesterday to Ayn Hamran turned out to be very successful despite the wind and dust.

In the middle section of the Ayn I came across a male Asian Koel. It was not only new to my Oman list making species 255 but also a lifer.

male Asian Koel

The bird is apparently rare but possible all over Oman in winter. However, there a concentration on Masirah island. I presume this particular bird is passing through as it hasn't been seen at Ayn Hamran before.

close-up of Asian Koel

Elsewhere at Ayn Hamran, most of the regular wintering birds were still there including a greenshank and a grey wagtail which have been present since November.

male masked shrike

The male masked shrike has been an ever-present bird too. It is looking particularly fine in its spring plumage.

second view of masked shrike

Furthermore, the song thrush was still around too though it has moved away from the largest shaded area. This is probably because it is very popular with picnickers and can be quite disturbed even at night.

song thrush

There is another Turkestan shrike there at the moment which I believe is different from the last one I observed. Nevertheless I struggled with this bird to find 6 primary tips recalling that a brown shrike has 4 or 5.

Turkestan shrike

Despite the count of primary tips, it doesn't look short winged and must be a Turkestan shrike.

back of the shrike

Many of the usual resident birds were seen including Arabian warbler, Abyssinian white-eye and plenty of African paradise flycatcher.

long-billed pipit

Long-billed pipit is a less regular visitor to the public areas of the Ayn. 

At night, fruit bats are seen in large numbers. However I observed one for the first time in daylight.

Egyptian fruit bat

I presume they roost far away from the centre of the Ayn but this one was hanging right in the middle. 

back of an Egyptian fruit bat

The Asian koel and the bat made the visit quite special.


  1. Nice stuff. I know Koels well, as they often call VERY loudly from near my brother's place in Kuala Lumpur. One bird was calling so loudly we couldn't talk properly on Skype! Sounds like you ought to get down to East Khawr today - a couple of goodies there.

  2. Andy, Bart texted me about the caspian plover yesterday as it happened. I saw 3 in October so I didnt change my plans.Rob