Saturday, 28 March 2015

Uncommon birds at Mughsail

Having had an unsuccessful time birding for the spring passage in likely places, on Friday I chose to change my plan. Instead, I decided to do some general and less focussed birding in a location I hadn't been to for a while. I chose Mughsail.

It turned out to be a very good choice. I started out by visiting the main pool and sitting down in the hide.

On the way all the moorhen and other water birds scattered and a wigeon disappeared into the reeds not to be seen again.

One of the few birds left unperturbed was a great egret.

great egret

The next bird activity was a flock of rock pigeon which flew straight past the hide and landed on rocks a few metres way.

rock pigeon

Slowly the water birds returned as I remained forgotten in the hide. First back were two little grebe.

little grebe

One by one the moorhen returned.


Then it suddenly got interesting. The lesser whistling duck swam into view. I last saw this vagrant in the second and smaller pool about 10 weeks ago.

lesser whistling duck

It didn't hide. Clearly it is now more confident in its surroundings.

lesser whistling duck standing upright

It remained in view for over ten minutes.

lesser whistling duck walking

The characteristic chestnut rump was easily seen.

lesser whistling duck walking off

While the lesser whistling duck was still in the open, a common kingfisher darted on to the scene on to some reeds barely 5 metres to the right of the duck.

common kingfisher 1

This was totally unexpected and a reward for speculative birding. Common kingfisher is very uncommon in southern Oman. It is right on the edge of its normal wintering range. I don't expect it to stay long.

common kingfisher 2

This bird is a female as told by the extensive red on its lower mandible.

It became bird number 262 on my Oman country list.


Other returning birds included a solitary coot.

Tristram's starling

After this success I headed towards the second pool passing several Tristram's starling on the way to the car.

kestrel near the second pool

The second pool was quiet except for several moorhen and a greenshank. A common kestrel was also near-by. This pool has given me several successes in the past but it was not to be this time.

On the way out of the khawr, I came across black-crowned sparrow lark drinking. I don't think I have seen them at the site before.

black-crowned sparrow lark

My next stop was a wadi 9 kilometres further west of Mughsail. The birding was very interesting. I will blog about that next.

1 comment:

  1. I'm eager to hear what you saw in the wadi.

    By the way, couldn't the duck be a new bird, a different individual? Strange it hadn't been seen for many weeks.