Thursday 7 April 2016

Around Salalah

Just over a week ago, I played host for two afternoons to a couple of British birders, David and Katy.

With only afternoons after work, it's not possible to travel far from Salalah.

On the first afternoon, Raysut was the choice. David was keen on seeing tropicbirds so we went first to Raysut cliffs. This was my first visit this year. It is fair to say that red-billed tropicbird was very easily found. I counted at least 16. Indeed it was the most common seabird in the area, easily surpassing the numbers of sooty gull and greater crested tern never mind the odd remaining Heuglin's gull from winter.

red-billed tropicbird off Raysut

Raysut lagoons were the next call. They were  full of waders and other water birds. The highlight for me was a spotted redshank though I was keen to check out the 3 spoonbills. Unfortunately the all proved once again to be Eurasian spoonbill.

first greater spotted eagle

The wintering eagle population had dropped right off. All that remained were two greater spotted eagle.

second greater spotted eagle

A short trip to Raysut settling pools ended the day. I can report that at least one white breasted waterhen was still present.

On the second afternoon we visited three sites close to the city on the east side in other words the opposite side to Raysut.

At Ayn Razat, Bruce's green pigeon was soon seen. Other features included a flock of almost exclusively male Rueppell's weaver.

Ruepell's weaver

Ayn Razat is almost certainly the best place in Dhofar to see long-billed pipit. It is quite widespread in the upland areas but it loves the lawn in the ornamental garden at the Ayn.

long-billed pipit

Wadi Kheesh is mid way between Ayn Razat and Ayn Hamran. Once again here Arabian golden-winged grosbeak were observed.

cinnamon-breasted bunting and Arabian golden winged grosbeak

Ayn Hamran is not at its best this year. The poor monsoon last summer has left it almost waterless. I don't go there very often now.

two Bruce's green pigeon

Nevertheless we got better views of Bruce's green pigeon here.

Bruce's green pigeon

There was a single Arabian golden winged grosbeak there too.

I hope David and Katy enjoyed these short trips.

As an epilogue, I returned to Raysut lagoons this week with Michael Immel. I was still on the look-out for African spoonbill.

Eurasian spoonbill

The good news was that the spoonbills had increased to six. The bad news is that they were all Eurasian spoonbill.

Bonelli's eagle

All the wintering eagles were gone. However an adult Bonelli's eagle offered views instead.

adult Bonelli's eagle

It was much tamer than the visiting eagles.

Bonelli's eagle in flight 1

The large number of grey heron in the lagoons are very flighty. Now they had something real to worry about.

Bonelli's eagle in flight 2

My Fridays (start of the weekend) are very precious at the moment. The passerine passage should be in full flow at the desert stops. I am off to some of them tomorrow. I am hoping for the best.

No comments:

Post a Comment