Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Oman Day 5; Tawi Atayr, Khawr Rawri & Mirbat

We spent the morning trying to bird round Wadi Hana but it proved difficult finding the birds in such a well vegetated area. In the end we moved on and returned to the sinkhole to try again for Yemen Serin.
-Baobab Tree
-Pearl Charaxes

Species List:
Wadi Hana: White-breasted White-eye, Spectacled Bulbul, African Paradise Flycatcher, Blackstart, Chiffchaff, Cinnamon-breasted Bunting, Tristram’s Starling, Laughing Dove,

Tawi Atayr Sinkhole
Our second attempt to spot the Yemen Serin was more successful. In the hour that we spent looking I only saw a single individual, and only for a matter of seconds, with Tim and Jonnie seeing 2 equally briefly. Still, it was hardly the most exciting bird of our trip. Most of the other birds present were the same as the previous evening, but there were a few additions; 2 Black-crowned Tchagra were an exciting species for the morning, and Palestine Sunbird was our third of Oman’s sunbird species. Raptors continued moving overhead where we had our first Steppe Eagle fly over, as well as another Eastern Imperial Eagle.
-Black-crowned Tchagra
-Yemen Serin

Species List:
Tawi Atayr Sinkhole: Fan-tailed Raven, Laughing Dove, Tristram’s Starling, African Silverbill, Rüppell's Weaver, Cinnamon-breasted Bunting, Blackstart, Black-crowned Tchagra*, Yemen Serin*, Palestine Sunbird, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Rock Martin, Tree Pipit, Tawny Pipit, Arabian Partridge, Plain Tiger Butterfly, Slender Skimmer, 

Mirbat Tip and Sewage Works
For the afternoon we had arranged to go out on a pelagic from Mirbat, so birded the wider Mirbat area. We made a call to the local tip and sewage works but there was not much in the way of birdlife. Another Blackstart and a Tawny Pipit were about the best of it on the bird front, but we also had a Plain Tiger Butterfly and 3 Mountain Gazelles.
-Mountain Gazelle
-Slender Skimmer
-Plain Tiger

Species List:
Mirbat Tip: Blackstart, Tawny Pipit, Desert Pipit, Spectacled Bulbul, Plain Tiger, Mountain Gazelle,

Khawr Rawri
It was now mid-morning, and we had a few hours to kill before heading off to the pelagic, we chose to head west of Mirbat to Khawr Rawri. Here we had a host of wetland species that were our first for our travels. Whiskered, Gull-billed, Caspian and White-winged Black Terns were all present and all showing well. There was also a good numbers of herons around the lake; Glossy Ibis, Squacco Heron, Purple Heron, Greater Flamingo, Cattle Egret and Little Egret. On the water itself we had our first real numbers of wildfowl, with Pintail, White-fronted Goose and Red-crested Pochard all being new additions to our trip list. Among the wildfowl we also picked out 2 Red-knobbed Coots, which were a vagrant to Oman that winter. Waders were also in abundance; Black-winged Stilt, Marsh Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper all present, as well as Pheasant-tailed Jacana.
A single Arabian Warbler showed extremely well in the bushes above the lake, and there was a Graceful Prinia here also. By the lakeside was a single Isabelline Shrike, but we were unable to confidently attribute it to a race. A cracking female Pallid Harrier also flew low over us whilst we were scanning the lake edges.
-Sinai Agama
-Squacco Heron
-Gull-billed Tern
-Caspian Tern
-Red-knobbed Coot
-Arabian Warbler
-Pallid Harrier
-Isabelline Shrike
-Shining Sunbird
-Marsh Sandpiper

Species List:
Khawr Rawri: Cattle Egret, Whiskered Tern, Little Egret, Pintail, Black-winged Stilt, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Red-knobbed Coot*, Caspian Tern, Little Grebe, Black-tailed Godwit, Marsh Sandpiper, Gull-billed Tern, Squacco Heron*, Wood Sandpiper, Wigeon, Red-crested Pochard, Purple Heron*, Graceful Prinia, Arabian Warbler*, Garganey, Teal, Shoveler, Osprey, Blackstart, Northern Wheatear, Ferruginous Duck, Spoonbill, Greater Flamingo, Great-white Egret, Redshank, Desert Wheatear, Ruff, White-winged Black Tern, Feral Pigeon, White-fronted Goose, Spectacled Bulbul, Pallid Harrier, Isabelline Shrike, Shining Sunbird,

Mirbat Pelagic
We had booked our Pelagic for 14.00 so left the Khawr at 13.00 to ensure we arrived at Mirbat port in good time. Once out at sea we had fantastic views of Jouanin’s Petrels coming extremely close to the boat, and at times even racing alongside them. In total we had over 200 Jouanin’s fly past us whilst we were out. We also had 3 Persian Shearwaters fly past us, but only one of these was close enough to afford good views. Masked Boobies were also present, and good numbers of Sooty Gulls came to the fish thrown out by our boats skipper, Hatem.
-Sooty Gull
-Western Reef Egret
On our way back in the evening we had fantastic views of an Osprey fishing just offshore. As we passed the breakwater on our way back in we were picked out a Black-crowned Night Heron perched up. This quickly became 2 Night Herons, then more, followed by insane views of a Striated Heron which was perched up with them.
-Jouanin's Petrel
-Persian Shearwater
-Black-crowned Night Heron
-Striated Heron
-Green Sea Turtle
There was also a wealth of oceanic life on display. We got close to up to three Sea Turtles, probably Green, which had surfaced for air. We also had good views of Triggerfish and Pufferfish in the harbour. Large fish were seen jumping but we could not identify them from the views obtained.
After dark we headed to Ayn Hamran to try and find some owls or large mammals. The only thing we found in the darkness was a Black-crowned Night Heron perched up a tree.
-Black-crowned Night Heron

Species List:
Mirbat Pelagic: Jouanin’s Petrel*, Persian Shearwater*, Common Tern, Masked Booby, Greater Crested Tern, Osprey, Sooty Gull, Black-crowned Night Heron, Striated Heron*, Grey Heron, Western Reef Egret, Common Sandpiper, Common Myna, Tristram’s Starling, Sea Turtle,

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