Sunday, 22 February 2015

On the way to Wadi Hanna

Yesterday, I went up the hills as I had said I would. I went to Wadi Hanna and Wadi Darbat looking out especially for any early migrants. I am satisfied with what I saw there. However this blog is about what was seen en route to those wadis.

I stopped off at roadside edge of Khawr Rori on the way out. This is on the plain just before the turn off that rises up into the mountains.  

There was plenty of bird activity there early in the morning. In the reeds and its adjacent wetland were clamorous red warbler, graceful prinia, wood sandpiper, common snipe, common greenshank, moorhen and common sandpiper.

Unfortunately, there was no real sign there or in the wider wadi of migrants. However it only a matter of time.

By way of partial compensation, I got some very good views of a black-crowned tchagra in the open.

Black-crowned tchagra in the open

Even when they are on the ground they often seek out ground-level cover such as shown below. However this time one crossed bare ground at least for a while.

black crowned tchagra 

This was also the first time I had seen black-crowned tchagra at Khawr Rori.

Abyssinian white eye

Other birds among the bushes and trees were Abyssinian white eye, Arabian warbler, laughing dove and Ruppell's weaver. More and more of the males of the latter species are in breeding plumage and some nest making has begun in the wetter areas includung at this site.

male Ruepell's weaver

I will keep visiting spots like the roadside edge of Khawr Rori all spring. Migrants will come. 

Having left Khawr Rori and having climbed up the hill side onto the plateau on the way to Wadi Hanna, I abruptly stopped the journey when I drove past a recently dead animal.

Fan-tailed raven on a carcass

It had attracted four eastern imperial eagle and a couple of fan-tailed raven. On my approach the eagles retreated to wires near-by and only the fan-tailed raven had the courage to stay on the carcass.

Eastern Imperial eagle on a wire

Despite my stillness I couldn't coax them back. I even photographed out of the front windscreen window so as not to disturb them hence the poor picture quality. In the end I gave up on them returning.

However I returned that way about 2 hours later having been to up to Wadi Hanna, This time I parked up a little further away from the carcass. While i was away it had been picked almost entirely bare. The four eastern imperial eagle had been joined by seven steppe eagle in the act.

some of the eagles on the remains of the carcass

I had caught the moment they were starting to disperse as the food source had finished.

one eastern Imperial eagle with three steppe eagle

There are often vultures on this plateau. It is a shame they weren't there this time.

This exhibition was a sideshow. The main purpose of the day had been to visit Wadi Hanna and Wadi Darbat. I did find a few migrants there as hoped and one was an addition to my Oman list. I will blog about this next.

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