Monday 4 May 2015

Wadi Hanna and Wadi Darbet in late April

On Thursday afternoon which is the beginning of the weekend here,  I rushed off up the hills as soon as work finished.

My first stop was the very top of Wadi Hanna where the air is much cooler than on the plains. 

masked shrike

Once again my main focus was on migrants while we have still got them. Sure enough there was a very clean looking male masked shrike.

frontal of masked shrike

This one had a particularly orange front.

It wasn't long before I could hear a fan-tailed raven screeching. At the top of Wadi Hanna this is often a sigh that a bird of prey has arrived  in the area and needs to be "persuaded"to leave. I have seen this scenario played out almost every time I have visited.


When I looked up I could see a single fan-tailed raven trying to dissuade a hobby from staying around. This time the fan-tailed raven was not winning. The hobby out manoeuvred it time and time again. Later it was joined by a second bird but by the then the hobby had moved on anyway. 

some fan-tailed raven

A few minutes later and closer to the cliffs, a large number of fan-tailed raven had gathered but this had nothing to do with the hobby.

spotted flycatcher

Meanwhile back on the ground, I spotted three spotted flycatcher which is another migrant.


In the bright Omani sunlight, you might be surprised how often the resident blackstart can look superficially like the flycatcher. Both also have a tendency to perch on low and exposed branches of trees.

After Wadi Hanna, I made a call at Wadi Darbat on the way home. It is at lower elevation and I needed the later hour to visit even then it was still very hot.

There was virtually no sign of any water birds except one common sandpiper even though the stretch of water is still going strong towards the end of the nine month dry season.

Bruce's green pigeon is here in large numbers all year round but many non-birding people hardly notice them. They hide well and fly fast.

Bruce's green pigeon

Another colourful bird here is grey-headed kingfisher. I saw three at the wadi which confirms they are back in numbers from east Africa for the summer,

grey headed kingfisher

Finally just before dusk, I observed a rufous bush robin.They are passing through in very large numbers indeed this spring.

rufous bush robin

I returned to Wadi Darbet the next day as part of a long day's birding with visiting birder Derrick Wilby. It was a very rewarding day and I added two new birds to my country list. I will blog about this next.

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