Sunday 13 March 2016

Whistle stops around Salalah

Two Saturdays ago, I birded for a second day with Jolynn Van Duffelen. We only had the morning so we made whistle stop tours to birding sites near the city (of Salalah).

We picked out some of Jolynn's target species.

Early on at Raysut lagoons, we were lucky enough to see a large group of white stork drop in before moving on presumably to the rubbish dump where they often stay the day in winter.

white stork 1

They didn't stay long and started to thin out after about 10 minutes.

white stork 2

If you look very closely at the above picture, they are ruddy shelduck on the far bank. They have been around all winter but they certainly don't visit this far south most winters.

Jolynn was interested in glossy ibis and they were readily seen at the lagoons.

Pallas's gull

A beautiful Pallas's gull in summer plumage stood out among the resting gulls and terns.

tufted duck and garganey

At the inland end of the lagoons, tufted duck were among the waterfowl. This species doesn't usually arrive until at least November and doesn't stay long either before heading north.

tufted duck

I suggested we head to Ayn Razat to find Bruce's green pigeon which Jolynn had not seen before. However on arrival we managed to find the masked shrike which has wintered there first. One wintered at Ayn Hamran the year before. The vast majority though are passage birds.

masked shrike

Bruce's green pigeon was soon picked out though they can be surprisingly well camouflaged despite their bright colours.

Bruce's green pigeon

Our last stop was the reed beds ar Khawr Rori to look for malachite kingfisher. That day the area was very disturbed by an unusual visit of a herd of cattle. They were eating through a huge amount of the reed. Cattle are rarely brought down from the mountains.

I believe this disturbance contributed to our inability to find a malachite kingfisher.

Khawr Rori reed bed

Three days later I went again, this time on my own. The place was quiet and the cattle had gone seemingly without any further inroads into the reeds.

As luck would have it I found not one but two malachite kingfisher seeing them both at the same moment. No one yet knows whether they are a pair.

Malachite kingfisher

I managed some video of one of them. Please note this video is best viewed without enlargement. The resolution is not meant for full screen.

I am sure Jolynn would have loved to have seen this bird but birding has no certainties! I believe she enjoyed the trip nonetheless.

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