Early morning at Ghaftayn

Early morning at Ghaftayn



On Wednesday morning, I got up early at Ghaftayn rest house to see what passage there had been over-night.

These desert stops have highly variable windfalls of migrants during the passage seasons.

One morning can be heaving while another can have virtually nothing. The same goes for the rarity of the birds.

This was only an average day but would still be impressive for the first time visitor to Oman.

1men

Menetries’s warbler

Through a careful search of all the passerines in the trees, I found myself a Menetries’s warbler.

2men

Menetries’s warbler 2

This warbler is most common during the passage but some winter especially in any greenery in the desert.

3men

Menetries’s warbler 3

As far as I could tell all the other warblers that morning were common whitethroat.

4white

first common whitethroat

Most of the common whitethroat were of the blander eastern sub-species rather than the nominate from further west.

5white

second common whitethroat

Once again I found more of a species which had just been added to my country list. Ortolan bunting had been added the afternoon before after 13 months in country. Now there were two at Ghaftayn as well.

6ortolan

ortolan bunting 1

These two birds were semi-associating with the resident house sparrow.

7ortolan

ortolan bunting

The waves of red-tailed shrikes seems to be endless. Day after day and location after location, I see both Turkestan shrike and Daurian shrike.

8turkestan

Turkestan shrike

The male Turkestan shrike above is one of those which is just as brown on its upper parts overall as a brown shrike.

9red

red-backed shrike

One of the first birds I saw in poor early light was a red-backed shrike. I couldn’t re-find it though most birds stay all day at these desert stops only to move on at night.

10spotted

spotted flycatcher

Spotted flycatcher is incredibly common on passage in these desert stops and Ghaftain on Wednesday morning was no exception.

11grey

grey wagtail

The ground had birds too though the resident cats are lethal to the unwary. By the way I am one of those birders who hates cats for their murderous activity!I saw one grey wagtail and one yellow wagtail.

12hoopoe

hoopoe

A couple of hoopoe was pretty much as expected at the site.

13greater

greater crested lark

Greater crested lark winter in Oman in many places. These were the first I observed this season.

14golden

golden oriole

Just before I left to head northward on the long journey to Buraimi, I noticed a golden oriole. No matter how many I see I still enjoy them.

The next blog will look at the stop offs I made on the journey.

 

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Robert Tovey

Robert Tovey

Dr Rob Tovey is a scientist by training and more recently an English teacher. His profession allows him to travel to some of the more difficult-to-get-to places and stay there for years if his inclination takes him. He is a keen bird watcher, blogger and amateur photographer. He has worked in Azerbaijan and Libya and is currently in Saudi Arabia. Rob also has a base in Bulgaria so overall is becoming a bit of birding specialist in very general terms where East meets West.

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Robert Tovey

Robert Tovey

Dr Rob Tovey is a scientist by training and more recently an English teacher. His profession allows him to travel to some of the more difficult-to-get-to places and stay there for years if his inclination takes him. He is a keen bird watcher, blogger and amateur photographer. He has worked in Azerbaijan and Libya and is currently in Saudi Arabia. Rob also has a base in Bulgaria so overall is becoming a bit of birding specialist in very general terms where East meets West.

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