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More great sightings as we travel southward through the central desert area.


We had travelled some 100km south of Muscat in the direction of Salalah last night, we pitched our tents in the mountains near Samail in the light of a full moon on very stony ground.

Another beautiful morning greeted us as we emerged from our tents at 6am, we were surrounded by a barren mountainous landscape with a picturesque village below us. We soon packed up our camping gear and jumped into the car and set off southward towards Salalah.

many, seemingly wild, camels roamed the desert


Salalah, which is a further 1000 km south, is to be our final destination on the south coast and we hope to travel most of the way today. As a consequence we didn’t do much birding, we passed through miles of desert where there was no sign of life, not a single tree nor blade of grass, just stony desert and a very flat landscape. After four hours we pulled into a ‘rest; area where a motel had planted many trees and bushes, a short walk produced little, Desert Wheatear, Desert Whitethroat, lots of House Sparrows, Laughing Doves and Collared Doves.


here they are again trying to hide behind some grass

Birds seen along the roadside included Brown-necked Raven, Desert Wheatear and Hoopoe Lark. At 1pm we reached our target destination for the day, Qatbit, some 700km south of Muscat. There we booked into a roadside motel and had lunch in a nearby restaurant. A few birds were seen in the grounds of the  motel, all were seen earlier except for Common Chiffchaff.


Asian Desert Warbler

Great Grey Shrike - subspecies - aucheri

For our afternoon excursion we drove into the desert to visit an oasis where our most wanted bird, the Grey Hypocolius is sometimes found. This was an oasis-recce trip because intended to re-visit the area tomorrow. After about 45 minutes driving along desert tracks we arrived at the oasis which consisted of a small wetlands with open pools and reedy areas. Quite a few trees stretched for miles around they were thinly spread and were mainly acacias.

We soon found a number of birds but not as many as I had expected: an Asian Desert Warbler showed well and a ‘pipit’ species disappeared before we ID’d it. A single of each of the following were also found: Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Snipe, Northern Pintail, Southern Grey Shrike – aucheri  as well as hundreds of doves and a few Brown-necked Ravens.

a couple of views of the oasis, camels included


Before we left a couple of large flocks of Crowned Sandgrouse circled above us they wanted to land to drink but a local ‘farmer’ had brought over a large herd of Camels to water them this deterred the Sandgrouse from alighting.

 We left the area as the sun went down arriving at our motel just as it got dark at 6pm.