Sunday 3 January 2016

Yellow throated sparrow on New Year's Day

On New Year's morning I did the rounds of sites within the city starting at East Khawr (Khawr Dahariz). 

I only gave East Khawr a quick inspection. Many birds were still asleep but I didn't see anything special. There are a small number of greater spotted eagle which sleep near the Khawr and they were just stirring.

Greater spotted eagle

The waders were just starting to move too though the ducks and moorhen seemed already to be active on the water.

common snipe (left)

A common snipe was preening. If all snipe showed their tails as well as this bird then snipe identification would be so much easier.

It has been a long time since East Khawr gave me a new bird even though it is a good place to start for visiting birders.

After East Khawr I moved on to Sawnout farm which is less than two kilometres away.

I walked along the western perimeter fence as I most often do. The light was now much better than at East Khawr.

As I stared over the fence into the farm, a group of cream-coloured courser were once again in a newly ploughed field. Over 150 collared dove were also there. An Eastern Imperial Eagle was perched near-by.

However I looked more carefully at the birds near the fence and on my side of the fence.

A sparrow was making sortie from a wire to catch flying insects. My instinct told me this was not a house sparrow.

yellow-throated sparrow

A weaver-like bill on a sparrow like bird means one thing: a yellow-throated sparrow.

They breed in the north of the country near the UAE border but they aren't present there in winter. It is presumed most migrate to India and records are few in Dhofar.

However, they may be over-looked. I saw three at Raysut at the end of November and now one at Sawnout.

yellow-throated sparrow on a dead bush

This female-type yellow-throated sparrow did not mix with any other bird.

yellow-throated sparrow

The fence is almost always good birding. Three bluethroat were seen at different points.

record shot of a bluethroat

Rosy-starling were resting on a section.


Plenty of African silverbill were around. Several had brown rather than black tails. I presume these are young birds.

African silverbill

In some of the taller fields, the singing bush lark were hovering and singing. I see this behaviour in the two city farms for 6 or 7 months from November until June ever year. It seems to die down for the second half.

singing bush lark

There is a very good chance of seeing one singing on the fence during this time.

male house sparrow

This is one of a very few places in the city to see house sparrow. They are a farm yard bird here and not found on houses. Even here Ruppell's weaver out number them heavily.

After the farm I went west over to Raysut to look there for the first time in 2016.

I would like to thank my readership for visiting in 2015 and wish everyone a happy and prosperous year ahead.

Special thanks to the people from countries below who have frequented my blog over the years. This is the top ten and any change in position from last year is highlighted. 

1. United States  NC
2. Saudi Arabia   NC
3. United Kingdom  NC
4. Russia   +1
5. Libya     -1
6. United Arab Emirates  +1
7. Germany  -1
8. Oman   +4
9. Poland  +1
10. France  +1

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