Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Verreaux's eagle on an eventful afternoon

I didn't start birding until after 3 pm today as it is midweek. Nevertheless it proved to be quite eventful in a relatively short time.

I headed straight out to Jebel Samhan to try my luck again at finding Verreaux's eagle. Finally, this time my luck was in.

Verreaux's eagle in flight

I chose to bird the edges of Jebel Samhan rather than the plateau. After about 45 minutes wait, this proved a good strategy as an eagle arrived to the fan fair of the fan-tailed raven. They hassled it all the time it was present.

Verreaux's eagle flies away

This was a true nemesis bird for me. I had failed to find it in Saudi Arabia and for 5 months in Dhofar, Oman. However it is now species 252 on my Oman list.


In this area there were very few other species around. A kestrel shared the airspace with the Verreaux's eagle and fan-tailed raven.

Arabian wheatear

Otherwise in the hour or so I spent in this spot, I only observed two more birds: Arabian wheatear and Tristram's starling. Sometimes its the quality that matters rather than the quantity.

Feeling very happy I stopped off at Tawi Atair sinkhole on the way home. There were plenty of birds including: cinnamon-breasted bunting, palestine sunbird, shining sunbird, African paradise flycatcher, pale crag martin, laughing dove, Tristram's starling and blackstart

cinnamon-breasted bunting at Tawi Atair

However this time, there was no sign of Yemen serin. Some times I see it and sometimes I don't. It left me to reflect that by living here, I always get a second chance. I knew I would see Verreaux's eagle in the end.

African paradise flycatcher

As I returned to the city just before dusk, I got a phone call from an Australian work colleague. He said he had just seen a galah! at work.

I rerouted my journey straight to work and with last light of the day photographed a galah in a college tree. 

galah at work

Of course it must be an escape but Salalah would be a fine habitat for it.


A strange end to a good afternoon.

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