Monday, 9 February 2015

Wadi Qatbeet

I used the Qatbeet motel as my base for visiting desert locations over last weekend. Indeed I stayed there on Thursday and Friday night.

However in many ways the motel gardens were the most disappointing aspect though over the trip as a whole was a success whereby I added two extra species to my Oman list.

rosy starling

I toured the gardens as soon as I arrived before sunset on Thursday and again late on Friday afternoon. The most interesting birds I found were a solitary rosy starling which was associating with the house sparrow and a red-breasted flycatcher was skulking in a far corner of the gardens.

Meanwhile the house sparrow and laughing dove population are increasing.

one of several clearance piles

The reason why I believe the place is declining is simple. Too much of the low lying vegetation and branches are being taken out in a major tidying up operation which has gone too far. In the past 2 months the amount of cover has reduced considerably. 

I hope that there is still enough cover for a satisfactory passage windfall of birds but  I doubt it will be as good as before. There is no sight of new planting though this would turn things round.

white wagtail

Bird variety wasn't great. White wagtail ran around the motel car park and a brown-necked raven appeared on a lamp post near the petrol garage.

brown-necked raven

On Friday afternoon I explore other parts of the wadi, travelling the full 48 kilometres to Kadhrat Qatbeet on side road. Barely 3 kilometres from the motel on this road is an interesting small oasis. Here I saw a vixen in broad daylight.

vixen in the desert

I presumed she was hunting in the day because she had cubs to feed.

vixen goes into the undergrowth

The oasis has very densely packed vegetation and it is difficult to see what's there. It was good to see white wagtail in a natural setting.

white wagtail at the oasis

I could just make out a Nile valley sunbird in the bushes.

Nile Valley sunbird

After leaving the oasis I carried on to Kadhrat Qatbeet effectively birding for larks.

hoopoe lark

This is always risky business. Sometimes you see a flock but most times there is very little. This time was one of the latter occasions. Two hoopoe lark were my only birds.

The rest of the trip was much more successful and I will blog next about my trip to Muntasar Oasis where I finally claimed bird 250 on my Oman list.

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