Sunday 20 September 2015

Two adds to my Oman list at Qatbeet

Qatbeet is a further 80 kilometres outside Salalah than Dowkah farm and it was a tough decision whether to go on especially as it meant birding in the middle of the day. In the end I decided that while I was in the area I should take advantage.

I am glad I did. One reason was the European bee-eater that were there.

European bee-eater

It has taken me over 12 months to finally see this species in Oman. Very few fly through the Salalah area south of the Dhofar mountains. This was another target species for this autumn in the desert which is much further north.

At first they were flying overhead and I presumed an aerial shot would be all I would get. Then five landed.

European bee-eater over Qatbeet

European bee-eater became species 293 on my Oman list.

A temporary pool near the entrance to the motel gardens had interest. 

grey wagtail

Two grey wagtail were enjoying this water in the desert. 

grey wagtail

Other visitors to the water were house sparrow, rosy starling, common myna, Isabelline wheatear and common whitethroat.

However one of the most remarkable features of the birding at Qatbeet was the high density and numbers of European nightjar. There were at least a dozen present.

European nightjar

There were all of the eastern sub species unwini or even plumipes. Both eastern sub-species are much paler than the nominate.

A second European nightjar

Other birds included hoopoe, and a nightingale found in thick bush near a leaking tap.


A totally unexpected moment was when a cat disturbed a bird which then flew into a tree next to me. It proved to be a European scops owl. I managed a poor record shot through branches. Unfortunately it was too spooked by the cat and very alert so it wouldn't allow me to reposition to get better views.

European scops owl through the branches

This was bird 294 on my Oman list and a fine end to my desert birding.

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