I visited Khawr Rori on Tuesday afternoon for the first time in two weeks. There are two distinct birding areas and I went to both.
One is the north west off-shoot of the main Khawr and which contains a large reed bed. It is approached from the main road. On arrival there I immediately came across the vagrant Malachite kingfisher in the very first (and very small isolated clump) of reeds.I didn’t notice it until I had nearly walked into it. I managed one quick photo before it flew off.
However I met it again about 100 metres away and I wasn’t even looking for it. Again I was only about 3 metres away but this time it didn’t fly off. I felt very lucky and privileged to not only get a second change but a good one too.
Malachite kingfisher 1
Tommy Pedersen and I saw one here in June. The same one or another was seen in October and it is presumed this is the latter bird as it has been seen continually since. Our record was the eighth record and this one is recorded as the ninth as there were no sightings in the summer. One pair of birders say they recently saw two together and I believe I may have glimpsed that too (but not on Tuesday).
Malachite kingfisher 2
Although the bird is very attractive it is difficult to get good pictures primarily because it is considerably smaller even than a house sparrow.
Malachite kingfisher 3
Elsewhere in the reeds I observed several bluethroat, citrine wagtail, clamorous reed warbler and a Namaqua dove alongside the more common Ruppells weaver and white spectacled bulbul.
I also observed two common snipe.
This is a good place to see crakes especially after five in the evening.
I had excellent views of two spotted crake and one Baillon’s crake but little crake has still evaded me in Oman.
Earlier I had been in the main section of the Khawr. Seven lesser flamingo had been there on December 28th but that had diminished to two on Tuesday. This still meant that along with the
Malachite kingfisher there were two vagrant species present.
lesser flamingo with black-tailed godwit
The collection of ducks and waders was similar to the late December visit too although I didn’t see a marsh sandpiper that time.
marsh sandpiper (foreground)
‘This time last year, 25 greater white fronted goose were present. This year only one has been seen. Diving ducks are far fewer too. The weather has been warmer to the north and this may well be the main reason.
greater white fronted goose
Larger numbers of great cormorant are no real compensation.
It was however overall a very rewarding afternoon.In other news, on Sunday I had hosted some a non-birding friend and his family around one or two nature sites. I was not birding and yet I saw an Arabian golden winged grosbeck and masked shrike at Ain Razat in passing. We also visited Al Balid. This time I did get the camera out and found three spotted thick-knee while they visited the frankincense museum.
young spotted thick-knee
One of the birds was a juvenile while the other two were adults.
first adult spotted thick-knee
Along with the Crowne plaza golfing range and surrounding area, this is one of the better bets to see this bird.
second adult spotted thick-knee
Next week I am taking a winter break in Spain. It is not a birding break but I hope to do a little. I will report on this.