We spent the first hours of light birding around our campsite. A Southern Grey Shrike was the first shrike of our trip. We continued to find species which were common in the desert, such as Red-tailed and Desert Wheatear, as well as more Crested Larks. We also flushed a couple of Grey Francolin from the bushes surrounding our campsite, but our attempts to relocate them were unsuccessful.
Ras Al Hadd: Southern Grey Shrike*, Grey Francolin, Red-tailed Wheatear, Osprey, Desert Wheatear, Crested Lark,
Ras Al Jinz Turtle Sanctuary
We decided to start our day at the nearby turtle sanctuary. Sadly we arrived too late to see any turtles but there were large numbers of tracks up and down the beach which indicated they had been present during the night. By far the most abundant species at the site were the Sooty and Pallas Gulls, which formed large flocks roosting on the beach. The cliffs alongside the beach were a good spot to get views of Brown-necked Raven, a species common by roadsides. Also along the cliffs was the only Blue Rock Thrush of our trip.
Once we had walked along the beach, and with the morning warming up, we decided to check the desert behind. The vegetation cover was limited here, with no trees and only low bushes. We added Desert Warbler, Desert Lark and Isabelline Wheatear to our collection of desert species, as well as the regular Red-tailed Wheatear, Desert Wheatear and Crested Lark. A surprise addition to our list was a Quail. The bird looked to have come in off the sea, before crashing into the desert where we subsequently lost it. There were also a number of lizards and gecko species among the rocks and shrubbery.
-Blue Rock Thrush
Pallas's, Sooty & Heuglins Gull
-Asian Desert Warbler
-Carter's Semaphore Gecko
Once the morning had fully warmed up we began our journey south to Shannah where we hoped to be able to see a number of wader species. On our drive south we passed through a number of different habitats and made a couple of stops to check out areas of scrub or wetland. The first area of Wetland we checked had a small group of Great Flamingos using it, as well as an Osprey. Desert areas we checked had more Little Green Bee-eaters and Black-crowned Sparrow Larks, as well as our first Greater Hoopoe Lark of the trip. A Vagrant Emperor was our first dragonfly of the trip.
-Black-crowned Sparrow Lark
-Greater Hoopoe Lark
Ras Al Jinz Turtle Sanctuary: Brown-necked Raven*, Desert Lark*, Blue Rock Thrush, Quail*, Rock Martin, Isabelline Wheatear, Asian Desert Warbler*, Red-tailed Wheatear, Desert Wheatear, Crested Lark, Pallas Gull, Sooty Gull, Laughing Dove, Heuglins Gull, Kentish Plover, Great Cormorant,
Driving: Gadwall, Greater Flamingo*, Osprey, Pallas Gull, Tawny Pipit, Crested Lark, Caspian Tern, Laughing Dove, Little Green Bee-eater, Black-crowned Sparrow Lark, Curlew, House Crow, Western Reef Egret, Sooty Gull, Heuglins Gull, Great Cormorant, Greater Hoopoe Lark*, Southern Grey Shrike, Vagrant Emperor, Dromedary Camel,
We arrived at Shannah late morning/early afternoon. We first headed to the fish port where there were thousands of Sooty Gulls and other large white headed gull species. A scan out into the bay itself produced 3 Black-necked Grebes, which were an unexpected bonus to our trip list.
We tried to head down the coast but found it difficult without a 4x4. As a result we decided to head back to the mudflats at Shannah and scope out waders from there. Our main target was crab plover but we were disappointed to find that there were none around. There were plenty of other waders though including both Greater and Lesser Sand Plover, as well as Marsh and Terek Sandpiper. Greater Flamingo was also present along the shoreline and a Gull-billed Tern flew over. The mangrove themselves were full of Fiddler Crabs.
Shannah: Sooty Gull, Heuglins Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Great Cormorant, Grey Heron, Common Sandpiper, Black-necked Grebe, Curlew, Desert Wheatear, Dunlin, Turnstone, Grey Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew Sandpiper, Terek Sandpiper, Sanderling, Little Stint, Redshank, Greenshank, Kentish Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Lesser Sand Plover, Marsh Sandpiper, Gull-billed Tern, Greater Flamingo, Oystercatcher, Fiddler Crab,
After a couple of hours at Shannah with the tide coming in and still no sign of any crab plovers, we headed down the coast to the small town of Filim. Here there was more marsh, although not really mudflat and we hoped that the crab plovers might have moved down the coast. They had not. There continued to be good numbers of waders however, including more Terek and our only Broad-billed Sandpiper of trip.
We also checked the mangroves behind the mudflats for any other birds. Another Gull-billed Tern was fishing here and showed much better than the bird at Shannah. The mangroves themselves were alive with the sound of Clamorous Reed Warbler and we had brief views of a couple of individuals as they flew between patches of reed. A Common Kingfisher was also present here.
Filim: Broad-billed Sandpiper*, Gull-billed Tern, European Starling, Desert Wheatear, Greater Flamingo, Western Reef Egret, Great White Egret, Little Stint, Terek Sandpiper, Dunlin, Curlew Sandpiper, Greenshank, Redshank, Lesser Sand Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Kentish Plover, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Common Sandpiper, Bar-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Grey Heron, Common Kingfisher, Clamorous Reed Warbler*, Slender-billed Gull, Heuglins Gull, House Sparrow, Eurasian Teal,