Monday, 22 February 2016

Tudho and Mazyunah

Travelling towards the Yemen border, midway between Mudhai and Mazyunah but 12 kilometres west off the main road is Tudho. It is at top of Wadi Aydam but it is possible to get down in this widest and deepest of wadis in Dhofar.

The wadi is apparent a stronghold of Oman's trumpeter finch. This species is still a target for me in Oman and was the main reason for my detour.

It was recommended that I stake out a 10 metre long water trough where the finch is known to come down to drink. After a walk around the area especially looking up the cliffs a stake out is exactly want I did.

I waited patiently for two and half hours under a tree but no finches arrived. Perhaps it wasn't hot enough, perhaps it was the wrong tine of day. I will try again some time and later in the afternoon on a hotter day.

The place was not without other birding attractions. There were plenty of both Nile Valley sunbird and Palestine sunbird about. Not many birds find a use for Sodom's apple bushes but they do.

Nile Valley sunbird 1

The best observations and pictures of them were taken as I sat under the tree. Being totally still often works. The male Nile valley sunbird are close to attending their full breeding plumage at the moment.

Nile valley sunbird

Palestine sunbird also visited the same bushes and often at the same time as the Nile Valley sunbird.

Palestine sunbird on Sodom's apple

Palestine sunbird but not Nile valley sunbird was also seen drinking. They didn't drink from the water trough but from a leaking tap and its pool. I never underestimate the birding value of leaking taps in Arabia.

Palestine sunbird moving in to drink

The water trough did attract some birds to drink. The most regular was a desert wheatear.

desert wheatear at the water trough

The most numerous were desert lark and laughing dove.

desert lark

Indeed the density of desert lark in the area was one of the highest I have ever seen. In the near-by camel pens they were crawling around like a flock of sparrows.

laughing dove

White spectacled bulbul were drinking from both the trough and leaking taps.

white spectacled bulbul

After Tudho, I pressed on to Mazyunah and arrived at the Old Sewage pond around 3.30pm.

There was very little change since the week before and so this extension of the trip turned out to be unproductive. I expect this to be different once the passage season starts in earnest. 

Eastern Imperial eagle

Two eastern imperial eagle were actually wading in pool.


Passerines including white wagtail, water pipit and bluethroat were easily seen around the reeds and near-by water.

spotted crake 1

A spotted crake was walking out in the open as soon as I arrived at 3.30pm. I parked up and watched it from the car. This was surprising and yet I didn't see a little crake at all. Even though it is now on my Oman list, it is still a difficult bird for me.

spotted crake 2

Friday afternoon was not as successful as the morning where the Cretzschmar's bunting was seen en route. However I will certainly be coming this way again during the passage. I believe Mudhai, Tudho and Mazyunah have great potential then. I might even finally pick up the resident trumpeter finch too.

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