Monday, 28 March 2016

Dull weather at Beed farm

Last weekend a long weekend in the desert which I try to do once a month. The journey started on Thursday afternoon. 

On the way out there was time before dark for just one stop and that was at Al Beed farm. The weather was very dull with even a few spots of rain. However a downpour never came.

There were a few more signs of passage than my last visit to Al Beed six days before. Rufous bush robin is one of the most common passage birds in both spring and autumn throughout Dhofar.

rufous bush robin 1

There was one under a tree at Al Beed. It was very shy and didn't venture out from the undergrowth at the base of the tree.

rufous bush robin

In the same tree were a couple of lesser whitethroat.

European turtle dove

Last week I came across my first European turtle dove in the desert this spring. This time there was one at Al Beed. It seems their numbers are small but widespread.

greater hoopoe lark

I have no doubt that there are more greater hoopoe lark at the desert farms in spring than at any other time of year. I suspect they gravitate there to breed near-by. The increased food needs are a plausible reason.

black-headed bunting

The black-headed bunting seen the week before was still present and still associating with the house sparrow. This species doesn't normally arrive in its breeding grounds until May so it may be in no hurry to leave.

Namaqua dove

There were other unusual single birds. One was a male namaqua dove.

red wattled lapwing

The other was a red wattled lapwing. Though common in the north, few are seen in Dhofar.

I toured round the farm more than usual since I had no other chance of birding anywhere before dark. I was a little surprised to count six Arabian grey shrike. They were widely scattered.

Arabian grey shrike

Two species flew through the farm without stopping. They were a red-rumped swallow and two European bee-eater. The later species was only the second time I had seen it in Oman. It was another sign of passage. I will report more on this trip in the next blog.

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