Saturday 21 February 2015

East Salalah in late February

I stayed very close to home yesterday. Two sites were visited and bot are within 4 kilometres of my flat in Salalah.

Most of my time was spent looking into Sahalnoot farm. As id often the case there, some of the best birds are seen on the walls and fences on the perimeter of the farm. Remember is prohibited to go in for disease prevention reasons.

This time a Bonelli's eagle was happily sitting on a wall at the north east corner of the farm.

Bonelli's eagle 

Even when it moved off it only moved round the corner and sat under the same wall but on the north side.

Bonelli's eagle moves round

This was a perfectly healthy bird that had no fear.

Bonelli's eagle stares

It was one of the most prolonged close views of I have had with this species.

Bonelli's eagle in flight

Later a Bonelli's eagle was seen flying over the farm. it may well have been the same bird.

Barn swallow

Near the site of the original view of the Bonelli's eagle were two barn swallow. Pale crag martin were also seen at the farm yesterday too. Yet I have still not seen a red-rumped swallow since I arrived in Oman almost 6 months ago. This is another species I want to see this spring on passage.

Desert wheatear at the farm

Another bird I am looking out for is pied wheatear. In my Riyadh days they started arriving on passage about the same time as desert wheatear were leaving.I am hoping for something similar here but the bulk may by-pass southern Oman altogether. At the moment there are plenty of desert wheatear still here.

flock of glossy ibis

While I was watching out for passerines, a large flock of glossy ibis made one of its regular commutes towards East Khawr. They fly between the farm and the khawr regularly all winter. The distance is barely 2 kilometres.

graceful prinia

The hoped-for passage passerines never really appeared. It must be a little early still.  There were plenty of graceful prinia and Ruepell's weaver about but there are resident. Many of the male Ruepell's weaver were changing into breeding plumage.

male citrine wagtail

There were however more yellow wagtail than all winter so I assume their numbers are swollen with passage birds. The smartest wagtails at the moment though are the male citrine wagtail.

The other site I visited locally yesterday was Dahariz park with migrants being my main motivation. Again there was little evidence of migration although there were more yellow wagtail and also tree pipit. Both these species winter in Salalah but not in the numbers seen especially among the tree pipit.

tree pipit

Other notable birds in the park were hoopoe and a marsh harrier.

hoopoe at Dahariz Park

I will head for the hills today and see if there is any more sign of migration than in the city yesterday. 

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