Sunday 24 April 2016

Waves of migrants at East Khawr

East Khawr (Khawr Dahariz) is a very short drive for me so it is a convenient session after work in the afternoon. I went there twice midweek last week. Taken together with sessions the week before, it is obvious that many migrants are stopping only for a day or two before carrying on. The turnover in species is plain to see.

Terns are coming and going.

little tern

Little tern are only a fraction of the terns. However in other ways they are typical. They don't breed this far south and are migrants stopping over. Separation from Saunders' tern which does breed in southern Oman is more straight forward at this time of year. The white on the top of the head elongates into a supercilium on little tern only. The legs are nearer to orange than the yellow ochre of Saunders' tern.

mostly white winged black tern

On one of the days there was a large influx of white winged black tern mostly in mid moult. The next visit there were virtually none.

whiskered tern (centre)

Whiskered tern has been present every time though they might be different individual birds. Others have included sandwich tern and gull billed tern.

greater sandplover

Most sandplover have been lesser sandplover but a few have been greater sandplover. It is much easier to recognise them when both species are together.

mostly pacific golden plover

Around 300 pacific golden plover did stay more than one day. They crowded out the main sand bar.

ruddy turnstone

In this sandy habitat I only see ruddy turnstone on passage. They can be seen all winter on the rocky shore at Raysut.

curlew sandpiper (right and centre part hidden)

Curlew sandpiper are distinctive at the moment with their red-purple fronts.

Eurasian spoonbill

I am ever vigilant with spoonbills. I alway look for a vagrant African spoonbill. However one again there were just Eurasian spoonbill present.

Elsewhere on the khawr and ironically not on the main sand bar on one of the days were a group of sanderling.

wood sandpiper

Around the margins of the khawr inland there are plenty of wood sandpiper and Temminck's stint.

Sleepy Temminck's stint

This is not necessarily a passage phenomenon as the same two species are there all winter.

In the next series of blogs, I will write about Friday's desert trip. There was more passage there too.

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