Friday 17 April 2015

Red-rumped swallow at Raysut

Last afternoon towards evening I went to Raysut settling pools. This has become a bit of a habit over the past three weeks.

This time I was joined by work colleague and friend Michael Immel.

He was present when early on on Thursday's visit we came across a small group of swallows. They were hawking for insects over two of the back settling pools but also perching for rest from time to time. What was special is that one of them was a red-rumped swallow.

red-rumped swallow

The red-rumped swallow was the first I have seen in Oman and makes species number 269 on my country list.

red-rumped swallow 2

Dhofar is an the eastern edge of their migration route in spring and numbers can't be very high. 


Barn swallow numbers on the other hand are high and a few winter here too.

barn swallow

Another obvious migrant at the pools was rufous bush robin We saw at least three and each time the bird was shy flying into bushes at the first sign of trouble.

rufous bush robin

There is definitely a peak in the numbers of red-tailed shrike at the moment too. At the pools were one of both Daurian shrike and Turkestan shrike.

Turkestan shrike

Even though the spring passerine passage is relatively weak in southern Dhofar, it has some small strength at this moment since this is peak season. 

wood sandpiper and Temminck's stint

However the waders were reduced from last week but the quality was good. There were several wood sandpiper and Temminck's stint. A red-wattled lapwing and the vagrant spur-winged lapwing which had been here most of the winter were seen again. They were together. Black winged stilt and little stint were the main other waders.

flamingo and black winged stilt

The group of flamingo had split in two but was otherwise the same as last week.

western reef heron

Grey heron and western reef heron were present along with one squacco heron and an Indian pond heron.

little grebe

The four little grebe were also still present in exactly the same settling pool as before.

whiskered tern 1 (by Michael Immel)

There has been one whiskered tern reported here for months.  I don't know whether it has always been the same bird. Either way, one was present yesterday and it was in full summer plumage. 

whiskered tern 2 (by Michael Immel)

Michael got better images than me and has kindly allowed me to show two of them.

whiskered tern 3

The bird now was a neat black cap, bright red legs and bill as well as a grey belly and upper parts. It can be no other bird.

whiskered tern 4

I left the settling pools very well satisfied and as has been my habit for the past three weeks, we briefly popped into the water treatment lake before it got too dark.

another Turkestan shrike

The two highlights there were another Indian pond heron and a very brown looking Turkesten shrike. This last bird required some work to identify because it was not at all confiding and the colours were very rich. Nevertheless the small white primary patch was one feature that finally convinced me it was the more common of the two birds, Turkestan shrike rather than brown shrike.

Today, I am going out early and will hope the heat doesn't stop me too soon. I will blog about what I see.

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