Saturday 2 May 2015

Two Amur falcons at Jarziz farm

Those who follow my blog regularly will know I have been visiting Sawnaut and Jarziz farms constantly over the past five weeks particularly on the look out for Amur falcon.

My persistence finally paid off on Wednesday afternoon. At Jarziz farm there were not one but two of them present.

male Amur falcon

Although I had seen them almost on arrival at the farm I had to wait over an hour before they got in a position to be photographed properly. They spent most of their time with the sun behind them feeding over the long grass.

male Amur falcon 2

Amur falcon mostly fly south of Salalah in autumn over the Indian ocean. However a few can be seen, usually in December.

In spring their flightpath is known to take them further north and larger numbers fly over Salalah. So you can imagine I was beginning to despair that I hadn't seen one despite my efforts.

However I may well have started looking too soon.

male Amur falcon 3

The second bird was a female which actually gave me the best views as I was walking back to the car at the end of the session. It was resting in a tree.

resting female Amur falcon

Earlier I had seen it in flight. Earliest of all, it was the first of the two Amur falcon I saw. There was a dark spot in the distance resting on the pivot bar. I took photos as I walked towards it not knowing if this would be only chance to see one before it left the site.

female Amur falcon

At one stage a few distant shots and views like the one above was all I had.

male lesser kestrel

Tracking the Amur falcon around was not only difficult because they flew towards the sun at times, it was also difficult because four lesser kestrel were also in the field.

Like the Amur falcon there were both male and female and often crossed them while flying.

female lesser kestrel in flight

Unlike the Amur falcon, the lesser kestrel were viewed best while perched.

male lesser kestrel

One male (see above) was very confiding.

female lesser kestrel

While I was watching the falcons, they occasionally flew very high. On one occasion, some of the falcons flew high and I noticed up there was a passing oriental honey buzzard. Without the falcons going up I would never have looked.

oriental honey buzzard

Although the picture is blurred, it is recognisably an oriental honey buzzard. I recognised this because because of its six long fingers but bird of prey expert Tom Conzemi added (on birdforum) that the virtual lack of a dark carpal patch is another feature in support of that species rather than European honey buzzard.

European roller

Meanwhile, in other parts of the farm, other types of passage continue. Three European roller were observed on the edge of the fields while about 15 common swift joined the local pale crag martin plying for insects especially near the water sprayers.

aucheri (Asian grey shrike)

The resident birds always included chestnut-bellied sandgrouse, singing bushlark, Ruppell's weaver, common myna and African silverbill. I often see Aucheri (Asian grey shrike) as well. Very little attention was given to them this time.


  1. Hi Rob,

    Are you sure the bird in flight you've labelled female Amur IS actually one?

  2. Andrew, you are right. It wasn't. I have re-written the section around it. Still 2 Amurs though!

  3. Congratulations! You have mentioned your desire to see Amur Falcon in Oman in almost every post since I have been following this blog for the last month or so.
    They are truly magnificent birds, (but I think that about all birds). I was thrilled to see them in South Africa where they are very common outside of Johannesburg.

  4. Thanks John for visitng the site and for the congratulations. A common bird in one part of the world becomes an uncommon one in another!