Monday 30 November 2015

Mazyunah in the morning

On Friday I made a very long day trip to Mazyunah. It's a large desert town right on the border with Yemen. It's 250 kilometres north west of Salalah and required a pre-dawn start.

This was my first visit and I will go again as there are several good birding sites.

My first stop was just 15 kilometres before the town in the last large wadi.

Palestine sunbird on Sodom's apple

The wadi's vegetation included both sodom's apple bushes and Tamerisk trees. Obviously this is a good combination for sunbirds. All three southern sunbirds were present: Palestine sunbird, shining sunbird and Nile Valley sunbird.

Palestine sunbird

This is the first place I have come to in Oman where Palestine sunbird is not in a highland.

Nile valley sunbird

The Nile valley sunbird have not fully grown their long tails yet ahead of the breeding season.

white spectacled bulbul

Elsewhere in the wadi I saw white spectacled bulbul, desert lark and a single European collared dove.

Eastern Imperial Eagle

As I travelled on and just before I arrived at the town, I came across an Eastern Imperial Eagle.

Part of the reason I went to Mazyunah was because a visiting birder had recently found a new spot. This is the dirty water settling pools where reeds, a marsh bed and a grassy stream have developed.

It is down a dirt track on the right hand side just before the last roundabout which leads to Yemen.

water pipit

On the reeds were two water pipit and two white wagtail.

Daurian shrike

On the fence was a Daurian shrike. It was still early and a spotted crake was out on the open water.

swimming spotted crake

It swam back to the reeds and I didn't see it again all morning.


Several bluethroat were around.

spotted sandgrouse with 2 crowned sandgrouse on the left

From 8.40 am onwards for about half an hour wave after wave of sandgrouse arrived to drink at the bottom end of the stream. The first birds were all Chestnut-bellied sandgrouse. I estimate there were about 90 of those.

Over 250 more sandgrouse arrived peaking at 9.10am. These were mostly spotted sandgrouse with a few crowned sandgrouse.

red-throated pipit

Along the stream were several citrine wagtail and yellow wagtail as well as at least red-throated pipit.

Back at the pool were several duck.


Most were pintail and northern shoveller though there was one teal.


Waders there included ten or so greenshank.

four Eastern Imperial Eagles

As the morning progressed I turned my attention back to the stream. Where the sandgrouse had been up to six Eastern Imperial eagle came down to drink. One or eagles returned repeatedly all morning. Two Egyptian vulture were also seen briefly over head.

I stayed in the area all day and searched more widely. The afternoon turned out eventfully. I will blog about this next.

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