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.
Through a careful search of all the passerines in the trees, I found myself a Menetries’s warbler.
Menetries’s warbler 2
This warbler is most common during the passage but some winter especially in any greenery in the desert.
Menetries’s warbler 3
As far as I could tell all the other warblers that morning were common whitethroat.
first common whitethroat
Most of the common whitethroat were of the blander eastern sub-species rather than the nominate from further west.
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.
ortolan bunting 1
These two birds were semi-associating with the resident house sparrow.
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.
The male Turkestan shrike above is one of those which is just as brown on its upper parts overall as a brown 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.
Spotted flycatcher is incredibly common on passage in these desert stops and Ghaftain on Wednesday morning was no exception.
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.
A couple of hoopoe was pretty much as expected at the site.
greater crested lark
Greater crested lark winter in Oman in many places. These were the first I observed this season.
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.