I didn't connect with the Yemen Serin at Tawi Atayr but instead found the 9th and 10th records of CINEREOUS VULTURE, including this immature with 4 Lappet-faced and 21 Griffon Vulture!
Adult Eastern Imperial Eagle
Immature Eastern imperial and Steppe Eagle
Immature Great Spotted Eagle
Eastern Imperial and Great Spotted Eagle
Male Black-crowned Tchagra
At last I've seen a Roller!!
Over a week ago I found this Rufous Turtle Dove just up road from where I had it today and thought that it was a very rare bird for Oman. However, Jans Eriksen, a local birder, let me know that there had been 168 records in the country with 71 in Southern Oman!
A single male Desert and good numbers of Isabelline Wheatear were also present in the surrounding area
It was mid-day when I arrived at Tawi Atayr and going by James Lidsters directions he gave me, as he saw 14 here a few weeks back, of where to find the Yermin Serin, I was determined to find them. However, after over an hour of seeing Arabian Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush and 4 Tree Pipit, there was no sign of them anywhere. I hadn't given up and thought I would try further up road. As I pulled out of a junction, I could see some large raptors circling high up. I was out of the car immediately as they looked good for vultures. 7 European Griffon Vulture with 4 Eastern Imperial Eagle. They were coming lower and appeared to land behind a ridge way off in the distance. I had to get closer as there could be a Lappet-faced Vulture with them. I was just going to set off on foot across the rocky plain when a quick look up in the sky revealed dots in the blue sky. Lifting my bins and I picked out a rather large dark vulture which I could think could only be Cinereous Vulture after seeing a single while working in the Himalayas a few year back. I knew this was a rare bird for Oman but how rare I had know idea. I tried to get some records shots before it moved on but it was obvious this was interested in what the other vultures were feeding on below and it to eventually came down and joined the others. Trying to get photos of the Cinereous, I could of easily missed the 2 Lappet-faced Vulture that were also circling but both birds moved out south, A long-legged Buzzard took on a Booted Eagles as well but I wasn't interested in them and starting to run down a hill after the vultures that were on the deck already. And I mean run because they were a long ways off. As I came closer to where they were, I used the cattle as an advantage to get closer. Packed together were 21 European Griffon Vulture and a single Lappet-faced Vulture but where was the Cinereous Vulture. I scanned again with my bins and hidden behind the cows were another Lappet-faced Vulture and not one but 2 CINEREOUS VULTURE!! An adult and immature!
I wanted to get closer but the cattle were moving on leaving me pretty exposed out in the open. I knelt down low but one of the Griffon Vultures must of seen me and they all took flight giving me the opportunity to get some great flight views. With in minutes they were rising on the thermals and I lost most of them. Magic stuff!! I then focused on the wagtails I could hear all the time while observing the vultures but out of the 20+wagtails, they seemed be all Sykes Wagtail.. Returning to the car, I drove around the corner and there was a Short-toed Eagle sat on top of a telephone pole. It just stayed there as I took pics from the car and was still there when I returned an hour later after no success with Yemen Serin. I leave them for another time as I was more than happy with the vultures.
Male Arabian Wheatear
First sighting of one of Cinereous Vulture was almost a dot in the sky. I took this pic when it came down a little a little closer..
Both Cinereous on the deck with a European Griffon on the right and you can just see the head of the Lappet-faced Vulture on the left
The adult and immature CINEREOUS VULTURE
Compared in size to a Eastern Imperial Eagle the Cinereous Vulture look enormous
2 Lappet-faced Vulture
Altogether there were 21 Griffon Vulture
So thanks for the duff information from James Lidster of where to see Yemen Serin in Oman, I would of never of came across these vultures. In a good hour I observed a single Long-legged Buzzard, Booted and 7 Eastern Imperial Eagle, 21 Griffin, 4 Lappet-faced and 2 CINEREOUS VULTURE!!
The vultures were feeding just behind the cattle
Then not long after seeing the vultures I bumped into this Short-toed Eagle
I finished the day off at Saadah Park back in Salalah and the male Crested Honey Buzzard was still present with the 10 Tree Pipit