Sunday, 26 February 2017

Oman Day 9; Mudday & the Empty Quarter

Mudday Oasis
During the previous evening we drove down from Salalah to Mudday to camp, ensuring we would be on site for first light. We knew that the majority of the day would be spent travelling back north to Muscat for our flight tomorrow, so it was important to make the most of the morning birding. We started birding around the oasis, and quickly connected with the ridiculous looking Nile-valley Sunbird, which we found abundant in the valley.
In the open areas just down the valley from the oasis there were a number of desert species. We had only our second encounter with Sand Partridge here, although they were very common, and Desert Larks finally showed well, feeding with the House Sparrows. An Asian Desert Warbler was also seen in the scrub at the side of the town.
-Nile-valley Sunbird
-Desert Lark
Our most wanted species for this site was Hypocolius, and in the bushes down the road from the oasis we connected with a female. It showed on and off whilst we watched, and got good views at times as it feed from a fig tree. After half an hour it flew off, so we decided to make our move and begin our journey back north. On our way out of Mudday we had a small group of Mountain Gazelle feeding on the roadside, as well as our only Bar-tailed Larks of the trip.
We joined the main road north at Thumrait, where we decided to pull over and fill the car. At the side of the petrol station there was a small spill of water, and on this small spill we had an incredible encounter with a flock of 10 Crowned Sandgrouse and possibly as many as 50 Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse. It was just before 10 in the morning so the birds had obviously come in for their morning drink, which we had just completely jammed in on. A Black-crowned Sparrow Lark also came in and joined them.
-Mountain Gazelle
-Bar-tailed Lark
-Crowned Sandgrouse
-Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse

Species List:
Mudday Oasis: Mallard, Nile-valley Sunbird*, Asian Desert Warbler, Desert Lark, Sand Partridge, Hypocolius*, Laughing Dove, Collard Dove, Sand Martin, Rock Martin, House Sparrow, Pied Wagtail,
Driving: Desert Lark, Black-crowned Sparrow Lark, Greater Hoopoe Lark, Bar-tailed Lark*, Collard Dove, Laughing Dove, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse*, Crowned Sandgrouse*, Rock Dove, 

On our journey north we made a brief stop at Quitbit. The small pool of water was a good site for dragonflies, but birdlife was a little thin on the ground. Desert Wheatears showed well, but that was about as good as it got. 
-Desert Wheatear

Species List:
Quitbit: Brown-necked Raven, Desert Wheatear, House Sparrow, Collard Dove, Laughing Dove, 


By late afternoon and having made it through the very aptly named Empty Quarter, we decided to spend the last few hours of light looking through the scrubby ground of the town of Adam. We had a few bits and pieces that we had not seen since out first day in the north; Purple Sunbird, Indian Silverbill, White-cheeked Bulbul. An Indian Roller was seen briefly but could not be relocated. Looking under rocks also produced our first and only Scorpions of the trip. We finished birding here at dark and continued our journey north to Muscat.
-Indian Silverbill
-Scorpion sp. 

Species List:
Adam: Indian Silverbill, Purple Sunbird, White-cheeked Bulbul, Indian Roller, Laughing Dove, House Sparrow, Tawny Pipit, Scorpion,

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