Monday, 13 April 2015

Ayn Hamran and Ayn Aythum

I can't do long trips every weekend. This one I stayed close to the city. On Friday morning I began with an outing to Ayn Hamran and Ayn Aythum.

This is also probably the last day until the Khareef when I will bird all day. Its simply getting too hot.

Some of the local birds seem to put up with the heat well. This Arabian warbler was out in the open at times.

Arabian warbler

At first it looked like the Arabian warbler had got tangled with a spider's web.

Arabian warbler eats a spider

However it soon got its own back by eating the spider.

Arabian warbler

I was surprised it was edible but it was soon finished off. 

Menetries's warbler

In a large bush near-by a passage Menetries's warbler was staying deep in the bush and in the shade. I presume it is a passage bird because I have seen a Menetries's warbler at Ayn Hamran all winter nor south of the Dhofar mountains for that matter.

stream at Ayn Hamran

Ayn Hamran looks perfect for migrants with permanent water and lots of shade. Yet as I have previously said the area south of Dhofar mountains does not appear to be a major passage route for passerines in spring.

rufous bush robin

I worked hard to find any other migrants. I got it wrong late last month when I said even rufous bush robin numbers were lower than spring. I can now see they aren't. There are just as many.

The only other passerine migrant I found was an eastern olivaceous warbler.


I had to make do with views of the local birds such as blackstart.

Tristram's starting

Once again Tristram's starling which had virtually disappeared from Ayn Hamran in winter was present in very large numbers and were very noisy.

Rueppell's weaver

Two other birds were also extremely plentiful. These were Rueppell's weaver and cinnamon-breasted bunting.

I believe a few nests are now occupied by female weavers. These will breed before the Dideric cuckoo return from Africa to parasitise some of the nests. Ayn Hamran is a good place to the cuckoo.

cinnamon-breasted bunting

White spectacled bulbul also likes Ayn Hamran particularly at the moment though many can be found in winter too. Bruce's green pigeon is similar but unfortunately it avoided my camera this time.

white spectacled bulbul

The lizard population is definitely more in evidence over the past few months. When the grey-headed kingfisher returns from Africa (like Dideric cuckoo) I suspect the numbers will fall quickly.


After Ayn Hamran I made a quick call to Ayn Aythum. This Ayn is a 40 metre waterfall during the khareef but is a dry cliff wall currently.

African paradise flycatcher at Ayn Aythum

Up to the end of December it is still damp and supports species such as grey wagtail.

cliffs at Ayn Aythum

It's still a good place to see African paradise flycatcher but there again so is Ayn Hamran.

Since it was getting so hot and I didn't want to finish birding so early, I headed to the khawrs for the rest of the session. I will blog about them next. 

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