Tuesday, 17 March 2015

City birding

I stayed very local on Saturday. In the morning I visited Jarziz farm and then on to The City Park. I was in search of any passerine passage. 

At Jarziz farm, I once again came across both chestnut-bellied sandgrouse and common quail. I flushed three of the latter. Two of them were flushed without me seeing them from less than two metres away. 

chestnut-bellied sandgrouse

Also in the fields was the now familiar mix of crested lark and singing bush lark. Early in the morning the singing bush lark make a considerable amount of noise.

singing bush lark

Another bird I see on every visit is Asian grey shrike (aucheri).

aucheri Asian grey shrike

One of the three birds seen had a pigmentation issue. Some of its wing feathers were brown and not black.

Pallid harrier

There seem always to be birds of prey at the site. There are always kestrel and usually other species. This time there was an Eastern Imperial Eagle and a pallid harrier. This is one place I really must watch out for passage Amur falcon in the coming weeks.

female pallid harrier

However there was still no sign of a major passerine passage in the massive pivot field or in the cluster of trees and bushes. Even the tawny pipit could be wintering birds.

tawny pipit

After the farm I moved on to the city park. It is actually closed on Saturday morning for the gardeners to work. However I find I am allowed it if alone and go about my birding quietly.

Salalah city park

I looked really hard in the trees, bushes and on the lawns. One of the few signs of passerine passage were four lesser whitethroat chasing each other in a set of trees. However once again a small number of these birds winter in the Salalah area and I may have just overlooked them in the park before.

shining sunbird

Several resident species are breeding or heading towards it. The park was alive with their activity. I believe the shining sunbird above is moulting into breeding plumage rather than moulting out.

lizard in the park

With the park closed to visitors, the wildlife is more relaxed including several lizards seen. 

common sandpiper

Once again there were several common sandpiper walking around the lawns.

tree pipit

In the more shaded parts of the lawns were several yellow wagtail and tree pipit. Nearly all the white wagtail have gone.

common myna

Unfortunately there were far too many common myna on the grass too and Indian house crow in the trees for that matter. These two invasive species are far too common in parks.

second lizard in the park

I haven't mentioned possibly the most common bird of all in the park: Abyssinian white-eye. It is actually a distraction when looking for warblers but attractive in its own right.

Abyssinian white-eye

I finished in the park at about noon. After a three hour break in the heat of the day, I resumed some more local birding. This time I went off to Raysut. I can't fault the sheer numbers of species I saw there. I will blog about that next.

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