måndag 24 april 2017

Birdin in Oman - Mydday, Wadi Darbat, East Khawr Park and more


Time to wrap this up. This will be the last post about the birding trip to Oman and about time... But still, this info might be useful to someone and the post will be a good reminder of the trip when I read it in the future.

In this post I have collected the rest of the sites we visited during this trip. From Mudday and Wadi Rabkut, which is in the Omani desert, to East Khawr Park, which is a just a regular park... But, as in other desert places I've visited, parks can attract a lot of birds when they are the only green spots in a wide area.

In this post, there is a photo of a 1st for Oman... That was a really cool find.

Anyway, let's start with Mudayy.

Mudayy/Wadi Rabkut
Main target species in Mudayy were Hypokolius and Nile Valley Sunbird. We drove to a pond in Mudayy (when I wrote this, the pond was in the lower part of this map where it says "park") where the Hypokolius had been seen just recently. The sunbirds were easy to find but it took some time before the first Hypokolius showed itself.

The most interesting find in Mudayy, though, was the Tree Sparrow, which some in the group saw. None of us thought more about this at the time, and no photos were shot, but it turned out to be the first find of a Tree Sparrow in Oman. Not bad!

Below, photos of some of the birds seen in Mudday.

Nile Valley Sunbird (nilsolfågel, Hedydipna metallica
Grey Hypocolius (hypokolius, Hypocolius ampelinus)

Desert Lark (stenökenlärka, Ammomanes deserti)
Asian Desert Warbler (ökensångare, Sylvia nana)
Asian Desert Warbler (ökensångare, Sylvia nana)
Asian Desert Warbler (ökensångare, Sylvia nana)
Southern Grey Shrike (iberisk varfågel/ökenvarfågel, Lanius
meridionalis)
Southern Grey Shrike (iberisk varfågel/ökenvarfågel, Lanius
meridionalis)
From Mudday we drove to the nearby Wadi Rabkut. This is a map of where you exit the main road - at least I think so but don't take this as the only source for where to go...

There wasn't much life in Wadi Rabkut and the most interesting for me were the two Arabian Gazelles that took of when we flushed them. The list below shows pretty well what we found. I believe Gigi found a Bar-tailed Lark here, but she was the only one. Unfortunately the only find of this species during the trip.

Greater Hoopoe-Lark (härfågellärka, Alaemon alaudipes)

Greater Hoopoe-Lark (härfågellärka, Alaemon alaudipes)

Wadi Darbat
If you go birding in Oman, please don't miss this place. Along with Ayn Razat and Ayn Hamran the big highlight during this trip. Plenty of birds and a great variety of species. Not to mention that pretty much anything seems to possible to show up here.

The absolute top here was the Brahminy Kite we found while walking back up the wadi after a couple of hours of birdwatching. This was the 1st find of this species in Oman and a lifer for me.

We stayed until nightfall and listened to the Arabian Scops Owl. We heard another owl - at least we believe it was an owl - but we were unable to indentify the species.
Shining Sunbird (abessinsk solfågel, Cinnyris habessinicus)

Arabian Wheatear (arabstenskvätta, Oenanthe lugentoides)
Long-billed Pipit (långnäbbad piplärka, Anthus similis)

European Roller (blåkråka, Coracias garrulus)


Bruce's Green Pigeon (gulbukig grönduva, Treron waalia)

Eastern Imperial Eagle (kejsarörn, Aquila heliaca)

Short-toed Snake Eagle (ormörn, Circaetus gallicus)

Tristram's Starling (sinaiglansstare, Onychognathus tristramii)

Black Stork (svart stork, Ciconia nigra)
The Brahminy Kite as it flew above us in Wadi Darbat. Not too bad!
Brahminy Kite (brahminglada, Haliastur indus)

East Khawr Park
If staying in Crowne Plaza Hotel, a visit to the nearby East Khawr Park (or Ad Dahariz Park..) should be a must. We saw some nice species here with the Forest Wagtail as the nicest one for me.
Grey-headed Kingfisher (gråhuvad kungsfiskare, Halcyon
leucocephala)

Yellow-billed Kite (gulnäbbad glada, Milvus aegyptius)

Yellow-billed Kite (gulnäbbad glada, Milvus aegyptius)

Yellow-billed Kite (gulnäbbad glada, Milvus aegyptius)

Crested Honey Buzzard (tofsbivråk, Pernis ptilorhynchus)

Crested Honey Buzzard (tofsbivråk, Pernis ptilorhynchus)

Crested Honey Buzzard (tofsbivråk, Pernis ptilorhynchus)


Crested Honey Buzzard (tofsbivråk, Pernis ptilorhynchus)

Crested Honey Buzzard (tofsbivråk, Pernis ptilorhynchus)

Crested Lark (tofslärka (53), Galerida cristata)
Western Yellow Wagtail (gulärla, Motacilla flava)
Forest Wagtail (trädärla, Dendronanthus indicus)


Forest Wagtail (trädärla, Dendronanthus indicus)

Forest Wagtail (trädärla, Dendronanthus indicus)

Scaly-breasted Munia (fjällig munia, Lonchura punctulata)
Red-backed Shrike (törnskata, Lanius collurio)

Jabal Samhan

One of the last days of the trip we went to the enormous cliff of Jabal Samhan. On the way, we stopped by the Tawi Atayr sinkhole, which is supposed to be a good spot for Yemen Siskin. It took some time but in the end everyone in the group managed to see the siskin. 

As bland and "boring" as can be, the siskin, the Verraux Eagle is a complete opposite. Magnificent bird and well worth the time it took to drive there. Now, the whole scenery and the view from Jabal Samhan helped with the experience but I would say that this is a must for a birder going to Salalah.

We met a local who told us that in the low land below the cliff is a good place for Arabian Leopard, though we didn't see any. But we did see both Peregrin Falcon and Long-legged Buzzard.

Arabian Wheatear (arabstenskvätta, Oenanthe lugentoides)
Arabian Wheatear (arabstenskvätta, Oenanthe lugentoides)

Arabian Wheatear (arabstenskvätta, Oenanthe lugentoides)

Arabian Wheatear (arabstenskvätta, Oenanthe lugentoides)

Fan-tailed Raven (kortstjärtad korp, Corvus rhipidurus)
Fan-tailed Raven (kortstjärtad korp, Corvus rhipidurus)
Peregrine Falcon (pilgrimsfalk, Falco peregrinus)
Verreaux's Eagle (klippörn, Aquila verreauxii)

Verreaux's Eagle (klippörn, Aquila verreauxii)

Verreaux's Eagle (klippörn, Aquila verreauxii)



This is it from Oman! I just took me a year and a half to finish it. :-) But as I write this last blogpost and look at the photos, I remember what it was like to be there and watch the birds. I really hope I have the possibility to get back to Salalah as some point.



Bird lists for the sites, as always, only the more interesting species. 

Mudday
Spanish Imperial Eagle (spansk kejsarörn, Aquila adalberti)
Southern Grey Shrike (iberisk varfågel/ökenvarfågel, Lanius meridionalis)
Grey Hypocolius (hypokolius, Hypocolius ampelinus) *
Desert Lark (stenökenlärka, Ammomanes deserti)
Common Chiffchaff (gransångare, Phylloscopus collybita)
Willow Warbler (lövsångare, Phylloscopus trochilus)
Eurasian Reed Warbler (rörsångare, Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Asian Desert Warbler (ökensångare, Sylvia nana)
Nile Valley Sunbird (nilsolfågel, Hedydipna metallica) *
Palestine Sunbird (palestinasolfågel, Cinnyris osea)
House Sparrow (gråsparv, Passer domesticus)

Wadi Rabkut
Sand Partridge (ökenhöna, Ammoperdix heyi) Steppe Eagle (stäppörn, Aquila nipalensis)
Green Bee-eater (grön dvärgbiätare, Merops orientalis)
Greater Hoopoe-Lark (härfågellärka, Alaemon alaudipes)
Desert Lark (stenökenlärka, Ammomanes deserti)
Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark (svartkronad finklärka, Eremopterix nigriceps)
Asian Desert Warbler (ökensångare, Sylvia nana)
Desert Wheatear (ökenstenskvätta, Oenanthe deserti)
Blackstart (svartstjärt, Oenanthe melanura) Arabian Gazelle (Gazella arabica)

Wadi Darbat
Black Stork (svart stork, Ciconia nigra)
Black Kite (brun glada, Milvus migrans)
Black-crowned Night Heron (natthäger, Nycticorax nycticorax)
Greater Spotted Eagle (större skrikörn, Clanga clanga)
Eastern Imperial Eagle (kejsarörn, Aquila heliaca)
Short-toed Snake Eagle (ormörn, Circaetus gallicus)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk (sparvhök, Accipiter nisus)
Brahminy Kite (brahminglada, Haliastur indus) *
Bruce's Green Pigeon (gulbukig grönduva, Treron waalia)
European Roller (blåkråka, Coracias garrulus)
Eurasian Hobby (lärkfalk, Falco subbuteo)
Isabelline Shrike (isabellatörnskata, Lanius isabellinus)
Fan-tailed Raven (kortstjärtad korp, Corvus rhipidurus)
Spotted Flycatcher (grå flugsnappare, Muscicapa striata)
Arabian Wheatear (arabstenskvätta, Oenanthe lugentoides) *
Shining Sunbird (abessinsk solfågel, Cinnyris habessinicus)
Palestine Sunbird (palestinasolfågel, Cinnyris osea)
Grey Wagtail (forsärla, Motacilla cinerea)
Long-billed Pipit (långnäbbad piplärka, Anthus similis)
Meadow Pipit (ängspiplärka, Anthus pratensis)
Tree Pipit (trädpiplärka, Anthus trivialis)
Red-throated Pipit (rödstrupig piplärka, Anthus cervinus)
Arabian Scops Owl (arabisk dvärguv, Otus pamelae)

East Khawr Park
Crested Honey Buzzard (tofsbivråk, Pernis ptilorhynchus) *
Yellow-billed Kite (gulnäbbad glada, Milvus aegyptius) *
Scaly-breasted Munia (fjällig munia, Lonchura punctulata) *
Grey-headed Kingfisher (gråhuvad kungsfiskare, Halcyon leucocephala)
Forest Wagtail (trädärla, Dendronanthus indicus) *
Western Yellow Wagtail (gulärla, Motacilla flava)
Citrine Wagtail (citronärla, Motacilla citreola)
Red-backed Shrike (törnskata, Lanius collurio)

Tawi Atayr Sinkhole
Bonelli's Eagle (hökörn, Aquila fasciata
Yemen Serin (jemensiska, Crithagra menachensis) *
Arabian Wheatear (arabstenskvätta, Oenanthe lugentoides)

Jabal Samhan
Eastern Imperial Eagle (kejsarörn, Aquila heliaca)
Arabian Wheatear (arabstenskvätta, Oenanthe lugentoides)
Fan-tailed Raven (kortstjärtad korp, Corvus rhipidurus)
Peregrine Falcon (pilgrimsfalk, Falco peregrinus)
Long-legged Buzzard (örnvråk, Buteo rufinus) *
Verreaux's Eagle (klippörn, Aquila verreauxii) *

tisdag 28 mars 2017

Birding in Oman - Raysut and Sahlnout Farm

Next up in this blog series of my trip with Avi Fauna to Oman is the dump. A quite regular place to go for us birders to go as there is often plenty of food for birds on these sites. The smell is what it is though... Another good birding site in Salalah is the Sahlnout farm (or Sahnawt, there are different spellings in different places.) where a lot of birds can be seen. Difficult to get in, though, so distances can be quite a challange. 

The Raysut area just outside of Salalah, see map here, is a large industrial area with, among other things, the main port of Salalah.

There were two places in Raysut we were going to visit; the landfill area (something you don't really see in Sweden anymore) and the waste water treatment area with ponds attracting lots of birds. First stop was the landfill. I hope it is possible to read the map here to get an idea of where it is. We placed ourselves along the road in the centre of the map. You can also see the waste water treatment area to the left, I think. It works on my computer.

Any way, the landfill is virtually covered in birds of prey. Mainly Steppe Eagles but also a couple of Greater Spotted Eagles and Eastern Imperial Eagles. Now, when I write this post, it is actually almost exactly a year since we visited so, of course, my memory has becomed a bit blurred... And this is the main purpose of the posts, to remind me of what it was like during my travels. Apart from at least two more posts about locations in Oman, I have a trip to Gran Canaria and a trip to Croatia to cover. I hope I can manage this before I leave for Australia in four weeks... That trip will give a lot of new lifers and perhaps some photos to.


Those last two sentences, well I didn't quite live up to that. Now it is March in 2017 and I have been away from this blog for several months. I will give this blog another go but if I cannot catch up, I might as well stop writing.

Anyway, back to Oman. 
Eastern Imperial Eagle (kejsarörn, Aquila heliaca)
Eastern Imperial Eagle (kejsarörn, Aquila heliaca)
Steppe Eagle (stäppörn, Aquila nipalensis)
Steppe Eagle (stäppörn, Aquila nipalensis)
Greater Spotted Eagle (större skrikörn, Clanga clanga)
We drove on to the waste water treatment park or rather just outside of it. Again a lot of birds of prey here, one of them this stunning 1cy Greater Spotted Eagle. There was some water from the wwtp here and a bit of greenery. This attracted some smaller birds and again we had the Blue-cheeked Bee-eater and I managed to see the first Namaqua Dove of the trip here.
Greater Spotted Eagle (större skrikörn, Clanga clanga)
Greater Spotted Eagle (större skrikörn, Clanga clanga)
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater (grön biätare, Merops persicus)
Bonelli's Eagle (hökörn, Aquila fasciata)
We went into the wwtp and took a look around. The photos below show some of the birds we saw. The Abdim's stork was plentiful and I counted to 626 individuals. From what I heard, this was a new record at this point. 
Abdim's Stork (abdimstork, Ciconia abdimii)
Abdim's Stork (abdimstork, Ciconia abdimii)
Abdim's Stork (abdimstork, Ciconia abdimii)
Abdim's Stork (abdimstork, Ciconia abdimii)
Spur-winged Lapwing (sporrvipa, Vanellus spinosus)
In the Raysut area, there are a few other places to check out. Just beside the highway we found a wetland/lake with a lot of birds. There were lots of constructionwork going on and I would not be surprised if this wetland is totally ruined by now...
Greater Flamingo (större flamingo, Phoenicopterus roseus)
Variegated Green Skimmer (Orthetrum sabina)
Scarlet Darter (karmintrollslända, Crocothemis erythraea)
Another spot in the area, just by the sea gave us some Caspian Terns and yet another Deser Wheatear. But the Wheatears can be seen pretty much everywhere... A Shrike caught my attention. It was far away and we just took it for a Southern Grey at the time. But I've been checking my photos in more detail after we got back to Sweden and this could be a Steppe Grey Shrike. Hard call though...
Grey Shrike... Southern or Steppe.
Desert Wheatear (ökenstenskvätta, Oenanthe deserti)
That was it from Raysut. Though we did see Terek Sandpiper and Pacific Golden Plover in another place close to the port. But no photos from that place. It is called Raysut mudflats in the list below.

On to Sahnawt farm just outside (or rather in the outskirts) of Salalah. This is a great place for birds, really good actually, but difficult to do some decent birding in. We did not get access to the farm so we had to do all out birding from outside of the fences. We could still see some but we probably missed a lot.  Myself and a the other guys in my car actually stopped by two times. First on the way back from Ayn Hamran on the morning of the 22nd (see the blog post covering Ayn Hamran here). We saw some Sociable Lapwings in the distance and European Roller along with a couple of Cream Colored Coursers and Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse. 

On the 23rd we went back but now with the whole group. This time it was later in the morning and the heat shimmer was enough to make it virtually impossible to see the Sociable Lapwings. We drove around the farm and tried to peek through the fence. 
Namaqua Dove (långstjärtsduva, Oena capensis)
Collared Pratincole (rödvingad vadarsvala, Glareola pratincola)
Booted Eagle (dvärgörn, Hieraaetus pennatus)
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater (grön biätare, Merops persicus)
Eurasian Hobby (lärkfalk, Falco subbuteo)
Isabelline Wheatear (isabellastenskvätta, Oenanthe isabellina)
These last two photos are also from Sahnawt farm but of a bird that caused quite a lot of discussion. The general impression at first was that they were very pale and the main hypothesis was a Lesser Short-toed Lark. Small bird, very pale but there are a few things that in the end showed that this is really a female Black-crowned Sparrow-lark. But just to show just how the light (wich is very strong in these two photos, the sun coming from almost straight up) can affect the appearance of a bird, I have a link here to another female Black-crowned Sparrow-lark, taken in the evening in UAE a couple of years earlier. Link!
Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark (svartkronad finklärka,
Eremopterix nigriceps)
Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark (svartkronad finklärka,
Eremopterix nigriceps)
A couple of places well worth a visist if you ever go birding in Oman. As always, new lifers for me (at this point in time...) marked with *.

Raysut Landfil area species list (not that many species but many birds...):
Eastern Imperial Eagle (kejsarörn, Aquila heliaca)
Steppe Eagle (stäppörn, Aquila nipalensis)
Greater Spotted Eagle (större skrikörn, Clanga clanga)
Desert Wheatear (ökenstenskvätta, Oenanthe deserti)
Barn Swallow (ladusvala, Hirundo rustica)

Raysut wastewater treatment park:
Bonelli's Eagle (hökörn, Aquila fasciata)
Abdim's Stork (abdimstork, Ciconia abdimii) *
Namaqua Dove (långstjärtsduva, Oena capensis) *
White Stork (vit stork, Ciconia ciconia)
Spur-winged Lapwing (sporrvipa, Vanellus spinosus) *
Red-wattled Lapwing (rödflikvipa, Vanellus indicus)
Little Ringed Plover (mindre strandpipare, Charadrius dubius)
Spotted Redshank (svartsnäppa, Tringa erythropus)
Forbes-Watson's Swift (somaliaseglare, Apus berliozi) *
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater (grön biätare, Merops persicus)
Sand Martin (backsvala, Riparia riparia)
Bluethroat (blåhake, Luscinia svecica)

Raysut beach:
Caspian Tern (skräntärna, Hydroprogne caspia)

Raysust mudflats:
Pacific Golden Plover (sibirisk tundrapipare, Pluvialis fulva)
Terek Sandpiper (tereksnäppa, Xenus cinereus) *
Whimbrel (småspov, Numenius phaeopus)

Raysut pond:
Ruddy Shelduck (rostand, Tadorna ferruginea)
White-winged Tern (vitvingad tärna, Chlidonias leucopterus)
Marsh Sandpiper (dammsnäppa, Tringa stagnatilis)
Greater Flamingo (större flamingo, Phoenicopterus roseus)

Sahlnout farm:
Sociable Lapwing (stäppvipa, Vanellus gregarius) *
Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse (brunbukig flyghöna, Pterocles exustus)
Cream-colored Courser (ökenlöpare, Cursorius cursor)
Namaqua Dove (långstjärtsduva, Oena capensis)
Collared Pratincole (rödvingad vadarsvala, Glareola pratincola) *
Booted Eagle (dvärgörn, Hieraaetus pennatus)
Eastern Imperial Eagle (kejsarörn, Aquila heliaca)
Pallid Harrier (stäpphök, Circus macrourus)
Eurasian Hobby (lärkfalk, Falco subbuteo)
Singing Bush Lark (sångbusklärka, Mirafra cantillans) *
Tawny Pipit (fältpiplärka, Anthus campestris)
Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark (svartkronad finklärka, Eremopterix nigriceps)
Isabelline Wheatear (isabellastenskvätta, Oenanthe isabellina)
European Roller (blåkråka, Coracias garrulus)