Sunday, 12 April 2015

Another look at Jarziz farm

On Wednesday I returned once again to Jarziz farm. I go in the week because it is close and travel time is minimised. 

I am on the look out for Amur falcon passing through but I have still not had any luck. The city farms have seen them in the past.

greater spotted eagle

There were just two birds of prey on Wednesday. One was a lingering greater spotted eagle. There really are very few migrant eagles left now.


The other one was a kestrel which was being pestered by an Indian house crow

common kestrel

I walked anti-clockwise round the farm as usual. However I stopped early on to examine a small lark.

black-crowned sparrow lark 1

I thought it had potential to be a lesser short toed lark which would have been a new species for me in Oman.

black-crowned sparrow lark 2

However, the bill was too strong and curved. The mantle was too plain too. It was a young black-crowned sparrow-lark. These birds have a streaked front reminiscent of some other larks including lesser short-toed lark.

black-crowned sparrow lark

Another feature which should have told me straight away was its behaviour. Young black-crowned sparrow lark are often very confiding whereas both the short toed lark family certainly are not.

crested lark

Black-crowned sparrow lark are nearly as confiding as crested lark which was also present on site.

singing bush lark

The most common lark at Jarziz farm at the moment is neither. Singing bush lark wins that accolade.

However it is mostly seen when it flies high and explodes into song. You hear hear the numbers in the fields even though you can't see them.

graceful prinia

Another brown bird which is common on the farm is graceful prinia.

graceful prinia 2

Ruppell's weaver are everywhere. I have noticed how close to the ground they will weaver a nest if it is not disturbed. Very few people visit the farm and the nest below was only just over 1 metre from the ground. I have seen lower still at Raysut settling pools.

A low-lying Ruppell's weaver's nest

However I didn't see any female attracted to the nest. nearly all the females were over at the main cluster of trees.

female Ruppell's weaver

Incidentally I managed to accidentally flush another common quail in the long grass near the trees there again.

African silverbill

At least 40 African silverbill were flocking there too. I don't know hen that species breeds but I am seeing large flocks where ever they are present so I assume their breeding season in Dhofar is not in spring. 

European collared dove

Ever presents at the farm include European collared dove and chestnut-bellied sandgrouse. Every time I have visited I have seen both.

three chestnut-bellied sandgrouse flying

In the cluster of trees was one of the few definite passage birds. It was a red-backed shrike which was skulking inside one of the largest bushes in the shade. It was in the same place four days before. I have no real idea why it is so skulking or why it has stopped off. My only thought is that it knows it started out it's passage early. Red-backed shrike tend to be quite a late migrant.

aucheri Asian grey shrike

The usual Asian grey shrike were near-by.

Having left the cluster of trees I headed across to the pivot bar using the track through the field. This is my normal route back to the car.

The sprayers were on. In this situation you often get many birds attracted to the perches on the bar and by the water.

This time there were a large number of crag martins and a few barn swallow hawking around the sprayers.

pale crag martin 

I wanted a thorough check to see if all the crag martins were resident pale crag martin or whether there were any migrant European crag martin.

a different pale crag martin

This is more difficult here than in Saudi Arabia as the local sub species is not as pale. In general though, pale crag martin are less robust, have a smaller dark ear covert and much less dark under-wing coverts. 

a third pale crag martin

When they are perched or on the ground you can see the size and shape as well as the ear covert differences. However most of the time the birds are in the air.

three pale crag martin

Using photography to help, I couldn't find a single European crag martin among this group.

barn swallow

Although I have actually seen European crag martin in Oman back in October, I have yet to see a red-rumped swallow.

common myna

Other birds were perched on the bar. I mentioned the kestrel and Indian house crow earlier. There were also a couple of common myna and a little green bee-eater struggling to eat a large dragonfly.

little green bee-eater

I understand the most bee-eaters second favourite food is dragonfly.

My next blogs recount my birding over the weekend that has just finished.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    Could that Kestrel be a Lesser? The primary projection is very long.