Wednesday 20 May 2015

Second week of May in Salalah

Last week, all my local birding took place on Monday and Tuesday as I went down with a cold for the rest of the week. 

On Monday morning I visited Jarziz farm soon after dawn and once again I found Amur falcon.

That made six different birds there in the space of 10 days or so.

young male Amur falcon

Both birds were perched and about 30 metres apart on a pivot bar.

female Amur falcon

Soon after I saw them, they rose and flew off. Unlike the previous four birds they did not appear to fly around looking for food. I believe they continued on migration and had just been resting. It was my fortune to be there so early in the day to see them. They were gone before 6.45 am.

European roller

A European roller had been perched very close to the male Amur falcon and was still there long after both falcons left.

singing bush lark

Very few common swift were hawking for insects. Their numbers on passage had clearly peaked. Soon the resident birds such as singing bush lark will have the field to themselves.

common kestrel

It was the first time I had seen the more mundane bird of prey in the from of a common kestrel at the farm for a month.

On Monday evening last week, I called into Raysut settling pools which I have been doing regularly for a few months. I was joined by work colleague and friend Michael Immel on this evening and again the day after.

spotted flycatcher

Obvious passage migrants were restricted to spotted flycatcher and marsh warbler. Unless some of the black-winged stilt were migrants, there was not a single passage wader. This was the first time that has ever happened to me on a visit there.

spur-winged lapwing 1

The odd couple of a vagrant spur-winged lapwing and a wandering red wattled lapwing were once again on site. All vocalisation is carried out by the red wattled lapwing and the spur winged lapwing just follows when it hears a call.

spur-winged lapwing 2

Interestingly, even when the spur winged lapwing takes to the air first, the red wattled lapwing then goes into the air first and starts calling.

red-wattled lapwing

Just before dusk we called in at East Khawr on our way home. There were only a few waders there too though the glossy ibis and flamingo were an obvious and large presence.


I have only seen Sanderling in autumn and late spring. I can't recall seeing any in the winter. There were more at the khawr.

On Tuesday afternoon, we headed out to Ras Janjari for some sea watching. My list of off-shore birds is very thin mostly because I have not yet done a pelagic trip since coming to Oman.

great crested swift

Great crested tern and sooty gull were the most common birds much as expected. Once again I managed distance views of masked booby too.

distant shot of three masked booby

I failed to see any noddies or shearwaters but it will happen eventually. I have found that if you turn up in the right place long enough you will get rewarded.

striated heron

Sharing the rocks with me at one stage was a striated heron. 

It was on these rocks that my camera finally packed up and it was later that evening that I went down with a bad cold.

The next blog is from five days later when I was well enough (just) to go birding again and with a new camera. I'll post on that next.

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