Tuesday 22 December 2015

The northern border

On Friday, Hanne and Jens Eriksen took me to the northern border area with UAE.  The closest place to the border is Khatmat Milahah and it proved to be a treasure trove of new birds for my Oman list.

First a pallid scops owl was located which proved to be cooperative.

Pallid scops owl facing

I was surprised that it shunned palm trees in favour of acacia. This was a lifer.

Pallid scops owl turning

When we finally moved on, we scouted around the near-by countryside and very quickly spotted a variable wheatear.

variable wheatear

This was a second lifer. It was an immature male though an adult male was also seen a little later.

A search of the trees uncovered at least three plain leaf warbler. Unfortunately I failed to photograph this bird.

Nevertheless in the space of one hour I added three birds to both my life list and my Oman country list.

For much of the rest of the day we sought out Sykes's warbler and Collared kingfisher which are both resident at Liwa and Shinas mangroves. I thought I glimpsed one at Liwa but didn't have a long enough view to claim it as an addition to my country list. If I had already had the bird, I would have counted the observation.

common kingfisher at Liwa

In contrast to collated kingfisher, common kingfisher were easy to see. Indeed we counted 12 in total over the two sets of mangroves.

Pale underparts are found on juvenile birds but they also have all black bills so I assume the featured bird is an immature female where the bill colour has changed but the underparts haven't yet.

common kingfisher at Liwa 2

The bird below seen at Shinas is an adult male with its all black bill in combination with deeply coloured underparts.

common kingfisher at Shinas

Sadly Indian house crow were all too common at both sets of mangroves and we hope they are not affecting the sustainability of the local collared kingfisher population which has such small numbers the sub-species is considered threatened.

Another bird which was extremely common at the two sites was clamorous reed warbler. Indeed these were excellent places to observe them easily.

On Saturday all morning was spent in the Sohar area where we were birding for larks among other birds. It was successful. I will blog about this next.

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