Sunday, 30 August 2015

Quick stops at three sites

Last Tuesday, I made some whistle stops to East Khawr, Ayn Hamran and Jarziz farm. The first was in the morning while the other two were in late afternoon.

Plenty of common moorhen and squacco heron were on the water. However most of my attention was directed towards the grassy part of the sandbar which separates the lagoon from the sea.

broad-billed sandpiper (right)

Here is where there can be interesting waders passing through in autumn. A large number of ruff have arrived just like last year. Last year they stayed for 2-3 months before moving on. However there were other waders too including three broad-billed sandpiper.

This species passes through Oman and other Middle East coasts in early autumn but usually only as a stop over before finishing their journey near-by in East Africa and/or Pakistan and southern India.

broad-billed sandpiper (left)

They are easy to identify at this time of year with their double supercilium, darkish overall colour and drooping bill.

broad-billed sandpiper

The picture above shows the split supercilium well.

curlew sandpiper

As the autumn progresses they are less easily separated from curlew sandpiper which incidentally were also present at East Khawr on Tuesday. Most of these birds still had some red blotches on their undersides from their summer plumage.

lesser sand plover

Another wader present in fair numbers was lesser sandplover. The bird above is one of those which has quite a strong bill but is still probably a lesser sandplover (rather than greater sandplover).

lesser sandplover

The second bird is more obviously a lesser sandplover. Indeed it was so dainty I had to look twice to rule out Caspian plover.

adult grey-headed kingfisher

In the after I made a quick stop at Ayn Hamran which was obviously very green from the Khareef rains. However the stream has nowhere near as much water as it had last year.

Highlights included seeing two Dideric cuckoo chasing each other. Both adult and juvenile grey-headed kingfisher were present showing there had been a successful breeding season.

juvenile grey-headed kingfisher

Ruppell's weaver were still making new nests showing their breeding season was not yet over though there was plenty signs of used nests.

Ruppell's weaver

Here, I glimpsed my first Arabian warbler and Arabian partridge since my return to Oman after the summer.

singing bush lark

After Ayn Hamran I had just enough time to call into Jarziz farm before dusk.

This site was relatively quiet. Singing bush lark, cinnamon-breasted bunting and African silverbill were plentiful but no passage passerines were seen. I will not give up on this site during the autumn though.

crested lark

The last bird observed before I left caused me some thought but it turned out to be a crested lark without a crest. 

I birded again the next day which was Wednesday. This birding turned out to be very special. I sighted a bird last seen in Oman 17 years before. I will blog about that next.

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