Sunday 3 April 2016

Spring at Khawr Rori

It's been a couple of weeks since I last visited Khawr Rori and birds can change fast at this time of year so it was worth a call last Tuesday.

There are two distinct birding areas. There is the main expanse of water approached through a gate off the main road. There is also the north west corner with its reed beds and trees. This is reached straight off the main road. Both were birded on Tuesday.

malachite kingfisher

In the north west corner, one of the malachite kingfisher was on display seemingly fearless and not realising that it was classified as a vagrant in this country until very recently.

clamorous reed warbler 1

Close by in the reeds, clamorous reed warbler were easily seen. At this time of year, warblers often become braver as they seek to impress females.

clamorous reed warbler 2

A few wintering species are still present including common snipe.

common snipe 1

This preening bird gave me an opportunity to see the tail feather configuration. I wish I could be that lucky with the pin-tailed snipe that winter in Oman. It has always been assumed, mostly by geography that there are no Swinhoe's snipe among them. Seeing these tail feathers is a sure fire way of recognising one.

common snipe 2

A sign of passage was a masked shrike in a tree in the same corner of the khawr. Though a very small number winter in Dhofar, such as one in winter 2014-15 at Ayn Hamran and one in winter 2015-16 at Ayn Razat, no one has seen one at Khawr Rori. 

masked shrike on passage

Earlier I had visited the main part of the khawr. An african spoonbill had been reported there a month before but not since. Unfortunately I only found out about it two days before my visit. it was worth a look anyway.

two European spoonbill

I found three European spoonbill but even on close inspection I couldn't make them into African.

great cormorant

A single great cormorant and a single intermediate egret added interest from that part of the khawr.

intermediate egret

There were very few gulls to be seen. They were mostly young slender-billed gull which will over-summer.

black-tailed godwit

Wader levels are down too. All the black-tailed godwit are now in breeding plumage and presumably they will be gone soon.

greater flamingo

January's irruption of lesser flamingo here has long since gone. Twenty or so greater flamingo are present.

red-knobbed coot

In the open water, three red-knobbed coot were gathered together. Khawr Rori is still the best place in Oman to find this species.

Arabian cobra's head

It was not just coot that were swimming. An Arabian cobra was around too. It swam surprisingly fast and made it to a reed island and was lost.

Arabian cobra along the bank

This was my first Arabian cobra in Oman. It is usually a very shy creature.

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