Saturday, 19 March 2016

Wintering birds still showing at Raysut

On Wednesday afternoon last week, I paid a call to Raysut visiting both the settling pools and the lagoons.

The overall theme was that important wintering birds were still around when I had been expecting more passage.

The highlight was three white-breasted waterhen up a bare tree just outside the perimeter fence at the settling pools. This equals the record number of this species seen in Oman.

I didn't even notice there were three until they moved. I had seen one towards the top of the tree. Whether it was me or something else that disturbed them, the bird I was watching flew off a short distance into a larger and more foliated tree. The surprise was that one more and then another followed it from lower down the original bare tree.

white-breasted waterhen

This species is known as a winter migrant however the bird I could see longest had the colouration in its bill, only seen in the breeding season.

steppe eagle

Most of the hundreds of wintering eagles around Raysut have one departed. However I easily found an Eastern Imperial eagle and two steppe eagle.

pheasant-tailed jacana

Earlier at the lagoons, pheasant-tailed jacana were present at the inland stretches. This bird is more numerous in winter but is known to occasionally opportunistically stay and breed. The longer they stay the more likely this is to happen.

Eurasian coot

The same goes for the less glamorous Eurasian coot though I only observed one at the lagoons on Wednesday.

common moorhen

In stark contrast its relative the common moorhen will breed in large numbers almost where ever there is water and some cover.

pheasant-tailed jacana (l) and pin-tailed snipe (r)

Of course not all wintering birds will consider the option of staying and breeding. The pin-tailed snipe above will surely leave soon.

grey heron

Grey heron is in another category, although it doesn't breed here a few of the non-breeding birds will over-summer. There are very large numbers at the lagoons currently. They will soon thin out.

marsh sandpiper

Other notable migrants at the lagoons included marsh sandpiper and garganey duck. Both winter here but there is noway of knowing if they are passage birds on their way through or those that wintered.


Pretty much all the ducks are in full breeding plumage now and the big majority are either shoveller or garganey.


Although this blog is mostly about wintering birds I can't ignore the osprey scattered all up and down the lagoons even though most other birds of prey have gone.

ruddy shelduck

Ruddy shelduck does not visit Dhofar every winter. However, this year originally six and now five have been faithful to the lagoons site for months. This wintering bird will soon be gone.

Pallas's gull

Yet another late leaver is a Pallas's gull seen there on the last two visits. It is seriously late. 

I suspect on my next visit to Raysut the bird cast will have changed quite radically as the winterers move on.

At the weekend I went into the desert again to try to catch part of the passage. I am very pleased with the results. I will use the next three blogs to explain what I saw.

No comments:

Post a Comment