After dipping on crab plover the previous day we decided to stay overnight in Filim and try again at Shannah early morning. We were on site for first light as the tide was just falling from high, but again there was no sign of any crab plovers. Scanning the waders produced the same selection as yesterday only today there was the addition of Great Knot, with a couple of individuals among the Bar-tailed Godwits. 2 Spoonbill present were also the first of the trip.
The highlight of the morning without doubt was a cracking male Pallid Harrier which was hunting over the mangroves. At times it flew fairly close to where we were watching it from. Also in the mangroves were a number of Asian Desert Warblers, although we only saw one.
-Great Knot & Bar-tailed Godwit
Once we decided there was no chance of crab plover we continued to head south. The journey south was fairly long and involved large swathes of desert with little birdlife. We stopped to check a small abandoned village but failed to find anything new, although a small group of Small Cupid Blue Butterflies was quite interesting. The highlight of our journey south was a stunning male South Arabian Wheatear which was picked out at the side of the road, and was quickly joined by a female. It showed well by the roadside before flying off into the mountains.
-Southern Grey Shrike
-South Arabian Wheatear
Shannah: Great Knot*, Spoonbill, Pallid Harrier, Ringed Plover, Marsh Harrier, Brown-necked Raven, Asian Desert Warbler, Gull-billed Tern, Common Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Bar-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Kentish Plover, Sanderling, Lesser Sand Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Dunlin, Oystercatcher, Greenshank, Redshank, Western Reef Egret, Grey Heron, Sooty Gull, Heuglins Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Greater Flamingo, Red Fox,
Driving: Osprey, Brown-necked Raven, House Sparrow, Feral Pigeon, Greater Hoopoe Lark, Desert Wheatear, Laughing Dove, Egyptian Vulture, Southern Grey Shrike, Heuglins Gull, Greater Crested Tern, Northern Wheatear, South Arabian Wheatear*, Common Kestrel, Green Sandpiper, Long-tailed Blue,
Ash Shuwaymiyyah Town
Our final destination for the day was the town of Ash Shuwaymiyyah. It was late afternoon when we arrived. We first stopped at the beach where we had our first seabirds of the trip, including Masked Booby diving close to shore, and a single Socotra Cormorant flew south. A few Common and Greater Crested Tern were also fishing close in shore. A small pod on Indo Pacific Humpbacked Dolphin also swam past close in shore, which were a nice bonus.
On the southern side of the town there was a small area of wetland. We pulled over after we spotted a Pheasant-tailed Jacana on the pond-side vegetation. Once we started birding the pond we picked up more wetland species, including our first Indian Pond Herons of the trip. We also had more Clamorous Reed Warblers and an array of commoner wetland species; Greater Flamingo, Garganey and Ruff.
Ash Shuwaymiyyah Town: Masked Booby, Socotra Cormorant, Common Tern, Desert Wheatear, Greater Crested Tern, Sandwich Tern, Heuglins Gull, Sooty Gull, Pheasant-tailed Jacana*, Garganey, Ruff, Yellow Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Grey Heron, Greater Flamingo, Clamorous Reed Warbler, Common Sandpiper, Coot, Teal, Feral Pigeon, House Sparrow, Indian Pond Heron, Indo Pacific Humpback Dolphin, Vagrant Emperor,
Ash Shuwaymiyyah Wadi
Before dark we headed up into the Wadi adjacent to the town, to a vegetated area known as the hanging gardens. Here we waited for Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse to come in and drink. A small flock appeared in the gloom at around half 6 and drank for around 10 mins before flying back off into the dark. Hume’s Owls could be heard in along the cliffs along the side of the Wadi, and scanning the valley with a torch provided us with views of a Red Fox and Mountain Gazelle.
Ash Shuwaymiyyah Wadi: Chiffchaff, House Martin, Rock Martin, Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse, Red Fox, Goitered Gazelle,