Thursday 11 February 2016

Arabian golden-winged grosbeak at Wadi Kheesh

Wadi Kheesh is off the beaten track mid-way between the much better known and more frequently visited Ayn Razat and Ayn Hamran.

These other two places were the only places I had seen Arabian golden-winged grosbeak before yesterday though I knew that Ayn Tebrak is also recommended for it. I had only seen single birds before too.

Although I pride myself in knowing all the sites in the Salalah area, I have visiting birder Markus Craig to thank for this one. He had researched that this site was good for grosbecks.

So yesterday afternoon I went there. 

It managed to exceed my expectations.

Arabian golden-winged grosbeak resting 1

Most activity was near a dripping water holder which also created a stream. Birds were coming to drink and to bathe on top of the tank and in the stream.

The first of six grosbeaks I saw was resting in a bush next to the tank.

Arabian golden-winged grosbeak resting 2

This bird excelled itself my giving me views from all angles as it moved round.

Arabian golden-winged grosbeak resting 3

The grosbeaks were mostly coming to drink at the top of the concrete tank.

drinking Arabian golden-winged grosbeak

 There weren't alone. Their most frequent company was white spectacled bulbul.

grosbeak and bulbuls drinking

I stayed at the site for around 90 minutes. There were times when no birds were around. They came in waves and the waves were mixed species.

Arabian golden-winged grosbeak drinking from the stream

 Much less frequently the grosbeaks drank from the stream.

When one wave of birds left, I managed to see where one of the grosbeaks had flown. It went to the top of a tree about 30 metres away and was calling. 

Arabian golden-winged grosbeak at a tree top 1

The most grosbeaks I saw at any one moment was three but I believe there were roughly twice as many taking part in the action.

Arabian golden-winged grosbeak at a tree top 2

Cinnamon-breasted bunting had a distinct preference for drinking from the stream.

cinnamon-breasted bunting

Several blackstart and a black-crowned tchagra were near-by but I didn't see either drink.

black-crowned tchagra

An African paradise flycatcher never landed to drink but would fly to the water and drink on the wing, repetitively.

African paradise flycatcher

 Abyssinian white-eye drank both from the stream and the top of tank.

Abyssinian white-eye

Ruepell's weaver seemed to be bathing as much as drinking.

Ruepell's weaver

Wadi Kheesh was a real find. I think it could be good during the spring passage with migrants coming out into the open to drink. I will certainly visit then to see.

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