Tuesday 17 November 2015

Mid week birding

In the middle of last week, I managed two more sessions of birding with Bart De Schutter before he headed north.

On Tuesday afternoon, we went to Raysut settling pools where we saw 51 species. This is a big haul for such a small place.

When I last went there only about 45 Abdim's stork had arrived. 

Abdim's stork

This time we observed around 240 though other people's records show that around 410 were around. This means they were not obviously harmed by cyclone chapala in Yemen on their way to Raysut.

Abdim's stork in flight

A great snipe had been spotted the two days before at the site. This is rare bird in Oman. We failed to see it if it were still around.

Pin-tailed snipe in flight

A pin-tailed snipe with an usually short bill was the closest we got.

citrine wagtail

Four types of wagtail were present: grey wagtail, citrine wagtail, white wagtail and yellow wagtail.

spur-winged lapwing

The long standing vagrant spur-winged lapwing was easily seen as were four red-wattled lapwing which were often associating with it.

soiled greater spotted eagle

The city rubbish dump is near-by and it attracts large numbers of eagles most of which are steppe eagle. Some flew close as usual. A soiled greater spotted eagle was resting within the settling pool site. It's soiling was consistent with getting too close to the surface of the two advanced settling pools.

whiskered tern

There are usually a few terns. This time the small number were whiskered tern.

The duck numbers were the highest I have seen this season. There were all pintail, garganey, shoveller and teal.

Outside the eastern perimeter of the site, the water overflows creating a small wetland and a stream down a natural wadi. We stopped for a while outside the fence and at the wetland.  Huge numbers of Ruppell's weaver starting arriving to roost in a near-by cluster of trees along with lesser numbers of African silverbill.

male bluethroat

The most interesting birds here were bluethroat and a couple of great reed warbler.

While we were still at Raysut the day before we heard that a watercock had been sighted at Khawr Taqah. We had resisted the temptation to drop everything at Raysut and twitch at Taqah. However we resolved to go there on the Wednesday afternoon. 

We heard Wednesday lunch time that the bird hadn't been seen by those who immediately went over on Tuesday. So by the time we arrived we undertook more general birding with an eye on any specialities rather than a twitch.

In an otherwise relatively flat session, one of the best moments there was a close view of an Indian pond heron. The dark loral strip is particularly obvious on this bird.

Indian pond heron

They are generally more two-toned than squacco heron with far less intermediate buff colourations. Again this bird was a good example.


We walked the beach near-by where there was quite a diversity of waders. I don't see many sanderling in winter but there were plenty there.


I found it quite remarkable that several dunlin were still showing some signs of summer plumage.

scaly-breasted munia

To finish off, we ventured into the small farm at Taqah. As well as large numbers of European collared dove and less numbers of white wagtail, myna and rose-ringed parakeet there was a flock of scaly-breasted munia. I had not seen them outside the city of Salalah before. The best sighting there though was a booted eagle which flew over.

spiny-tailed lizard at Taqah farm

On Friday, I travelled out east of the city again. Arguably birds of prey stole the show. I will blog about this session next.

No comments:

Post a Comment