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Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Oman Day 5 Ayn Hamran

This superb male Black-fronted Sparrow Lark was on the side of the road to Ayn Hanran and was part of a flock of nine birds 
   As Salalah Public Park was only a few minutes down road and I thought I'll give it look as there were also 2 Rufious Turtle Dove and a Crested Honey Buzzard there in November. Good numbers of Desert Lesser Whitethroat, calling and singing, Blue-headed Wagtail, Shining Sunbird and a new species, Grey-headed Kingfisher. I was there for only an hour as I wanted to return to Ayn Hamran for the third time. When I bird with other birders abroad, I will go in search of the specialities in whatever country were in. However, when I'm alone then I won't make that much of an effort to seek out the specialities and instead, I'll go birding for hours in one spot and sometimes return if it proved productive the first time I was there.

There were 2 Grey-headed Kingfisher in the park

6 Sykes Wagtail including this male

10 Desert Lesser Whitethroat

  I was close to the Ayn Hamran when nine small pale larks flew over low in front of the car. I came to holt and jumped out of the car as this was one lark I really wanted to see! I saw where they pitched down and a quick scan revealed 9 Black-fronted Sparrow Lark. I spent the next ten minutes getting closer and ahead of them they I lay down low and waited. It payed off as after another ten minutes they were only a few meters away me and not really concerned of my presence. There were many Isabelline Wheatear and both Steppe and Eastern Imperal Eagle were above me


Lying down and being still is the key when 9 Black-fronted Sparrow Lark came meters away from me!

  I dusted myself off in the heat of the sun at 40% and walked across to where the scrub starts leading deep into the wandi towards Ayn Hamran. I could hear a Arabian Warbler singing in the nearby Acicia's while I was lying down with the larks. However, there was no sign of it and I started taking some photos of a confiding Citrine Wagtail feeding in the stream. The wagtail was quickly pushed aside when I noticed a male Desert Wheatear and then a Turkestan Shrike in one of the Acicia's. In turn, the shrike was forgotten almost immediately as I could hear the Arabian Warbler rattling and made my ways to where it was. I could see movement deep in the bush but could I see the damn thing? I decided to sit on a rock in the shade and wait. It was some twenty minutes later that from nowhere he was foraging out in the open just above me. It's a large sylvia so he moved through like a hippo and took his time but most of that time was spent behind leaves and twigs.
  I drove up to the car park but there was no sign of the Rufous Turtle Dove and it was the same birds that I saw here on my first visit. The last hour of my day was near the digs at Al Awqadayn floods where I had close range views of the egrets and herons and the usual stuff that hangs out on the flood that is disappearing fast.

Male Arabian Warbler

Male Desert Wheatear

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