Sunday 17 April 2016

Mazyunah road on Friday afternoon

I stuck it out sitting on a folding seat next to Tudho water trough for three and a half hours. The hoped-for Trumpeter finch, a target for me in Oman didn't come. This is my sixth session there and still no finches. 

In the end I ran out of water and shade as the sun moved round my tree. It wasn't a lack of patience that determined I leave.

Striolated bunting, white spectacled bulbul, nile valley sunbird, desert lark, European turtle dove, European collared dove, rock dove and Laughing dove all came, went and in some cases returned. 

Occasionally a new bird joined the cast. The eastern oliveacous warbler which had shared the tree above me all the session even made a move towards the water twice.

Arabian babbler

An Arabian babbler was a one-off visitor.

Red veined darter

For a few moments I would get distracted. A red-veined darter landing near me was one such time.

Sitting in the seat, most birds simply failed to notice me.

At around one o'clock, a male Lichstenstein's sandgrouse appeared. It walked around within about 4 metres of me searching for food. Unlike most birds it hadn't arrived to drink. I think it is hard wired to drink only at the start and end of the day.

Lichtenstein's sandgrouse

I have never seen one so close before or for such a prolonged period.

Lichtenstein's sandgrouse foraging

At one stage it starting walking directly towards me and still didn't notice I was there.

Lichtenstein's sandgrouse looking ahead

In the end it turned round and walked away. I lost sight of it as it rounded one of the other trees.

An hour later it returned. However this time there was a female bird with it too.

female Lichtenstein's sandgrouse

They foraged around for nearly 10 minutes and were even a little closer to me this time.

hooded wheatear

Just as I was about to leave, a hooded wheatear arrived to drink. Indeed it was still there as I walked away. However it was a reminder that new birds were still a possibility. 

I will return again in the next two months to try for the elusive trumpeter finch.

On Friday though it was on to Mazyunah.

At the main pool and reeds there I was disappointed to see mostly waders. The expected passerine passage was not there. I suppose reeds are just not good enough cover.

Nevertheless there were two good sightings among the waders which were otherwise: ruff, little stint, wood sandpiper, temminck's stint, common snipe and greenshank.

red-necked phalarope

One of the better birds was a red-necked phalarope. It's plumage was more advanced that the one seen at Muntasar oasis three weeks before.

Terek sandpiper

The other was a terek sandpiper. Both these birds were actually the tamest of the waders present. They allowed closer views.

With such a long drive back, there was no time for a proper look at the other sites in the town though a quick search of the public hall area unearthed a rufous bush robin.

Overall the quality and variety of the birds during the day was most satisfactory.

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