Tuesday 26 May 2015

Up the hillside

Ayn Hamran and the spring in Wadi Hanna are both part way up the Dhofar escarpment. Both are well known birding locations and for good reason.

I visited both once last week. The visit to Ayn Hamran was with Markus Craig from Kuwait. Markus had shown me sites in that country and it was pleasure to meet up with him here.

male Dideric cuckoo

At Ayn Hamran there was a male Dideric cuckoo perched at the top of a tree singing very loudly and constantly.

Dideric cuckoo singing

I saw probably the same bird a week before very close to the same tree. It won't be long before little cuckoos starting appearing in Ruppell's weavers' nests.

male Ruppell's weaver at Wadi Hanna

The highest density of the nests of Ruppell's weaver is near water. In my experience these are the best but not the only places you can see Dideric cuckoo.

Grey headed kingfisher at Wadi Hanna

Both Wadi Hanna and Ayn Hamran are good places to see Arabian golden winged grosbeck but none were seen on last week's trips. Grey headed kingfisher is much easier to find (from late April to early November) and several were seen at Ayn Hamran and two at Wadi Hanna.

There is still some lingering passage in these locations.

female masked shrike

A female masked shrike was observed at Ayn Hamran and a spotted flycatcher at both places.

spotted flycatcher

Resident species included Tristram's starling which disperses around the hills in winter, Arabian warbler and African paradise flycatcher.

Tristram's starling

However for some strange reason, we couldn't find any on Markus's visit to Ayn Hamran. Birding is never a certainty.

African paradise flycatcher

There are always cinnamon-breasted bunting at these springs. In hot weather you need to look carefully because the odd striolated bunting comes down from the rocky, higher areas to drink.

striolated bunting drinking

In less that four weeks the hot weather will be gone with the arrival of the khareef (or monsoon). I am intrigued to know what effect this will have on the bird life.

1 comment: