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A full day on the south coast in and around Salalah, we visited some superb coastal sites and a couple of inland wadis.


Another early start saw us in the car and heading out of town at 5:30am it was still dark and the roads were empty. Our arrival at Ayn Sahnawt coincided with sunrise but there was a chilly wind coming up from the coast. At first the birding was slow but as soon as the sun cleared the horizon we were inundated with sightings. Blackstart, Spectacled Bubul, African Rock Bunting, Citrine Wagtail and all the waders that were seen yesterday were still present today.


Temminck's Stint

 Our walk took us across rocky terrain, we climbed a track to get good views into a ravine and soon new species were being found. Arabian (formerly Mourning) Wheatear was first on the ‘new’ list quickly followed by Abyssinian White-eye, this delightful little gem showed really well, we saw about 12 of them. Next came Palestine Sunbird, what a beauty that one is, at least 2 birds were feeding on one particular flowering shrub. As we dropped down into the ravine we could hear the loud call of the Tristram’s Starling, 2 of them were feeding near a waterfall, distant but nice views.


view of the pool looking into the valley of Ayn Sahnawt


Arabian Partridge was our next exciting find, we found one in a typical pose perched high on top of a huge rock, we also located 6 chicks down below her. Our walk up from the ravine was as eventful as our descent with lots of good sightings, we found a popular drinking spot where many birds we going to drink, we added Ruppell’s Weaver there, at least 4 birds came down, we had previously located two colonies where their hanging ‘nest-baskets’ could be seen.



As the air warmed we started seeing eagles up above the mountains, Steppe, Great Spotted and Short-toed Eagles were seen. Finally we walked up a very picturesque walk-way where a beautiful stream ran from the mountains. It was there that we added ‘bird-of-the-day’ when we found an African Paradise Flycatcher, what a stunner and boy did it show well.


Citrine Wagtail

So we set off back towards town to visit a tidal river adjacent to Salalah Port at Raysut, we arrived at high tide so most of the waders were resting up on the stony banks or shingle bars, We amassed quite a ‘wader-list’ with sightings of: Dunlin, Redshank, Greenshank, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Pacific Golden Plover, Terek Sandpiper, Lesser Sand Plover, Whimbrel, Common and Green Sandpipers, Western Reef Egret, Osprey, Imperial Eagle and a few common species, such as doves and bulbuls.


African Paradise Flycatcher

From there we made a brief visit to Raysut cliffs, where there is a popular sea-watching  lookout point. We stayed for 15 minutes only seeing Sooty Gulls and a couple of unnamed terns, but we did see a number of Sting Rays down in the clear blue water, these elegant creatures ‘glided’ through the water with a graceful ease, what a superb sighting.


one of the picturesque pools at Ayn Sahnawt 

Next we travelled west back towards Salalah where we visited another wetland area close to the beach. At West Khawr there is a large shallow lagoon situated immediately behind the beach, many species were seen there. The highlights were sightings of Greater Flamingo, Eurasian Spoonbill, Northern Shoveler, Temminck’s Stint, Little Tern, Little Grebe, Marsh Harrier, lots of other waders and gulls, terns and egrets. The shoreline was teaming with bird life too, Sooty and Slender-billed Gulls, Sanderlings and many more waders.

Arabian Partrdige

A brief respite from wader-watching was had when we visited a huge farm complex on the edge of town, Jarziz Farm has good reviews in the bird books but unfortunately it has degraded since those books were written. We drove around the site and only saw a handful of species, one good sighting was of Pallid Harrier and the rest were of species that we see most days.


African Rock Bunting

Our last site on the day’s itinerary was another beach side wetland area out eastward from town, called Khawr Taqah. It was excellent, there is a huge man-made system of pools next to a huge white sand beach area where several natural pools occur. The whole area was full of birds, we had some lovely sightings. The Pheasant-tailed Jacanca was the highlight, three of these oddities were seen well, but before we could get pictures of them a Marsh Harrier flushed the lot. We made two visits to these pools and listed over 20 species including 16 Garganey, 3 Purple Herons, 4 Squacco Herons, 2 Caspian Terns, 2 Whiskered Terns, Clamorous Warbler and lots of gulls.


African Tiger Butterfly

-The beach pools were stuffed full of waders, gulls, terns, wagtails, herons and egrets. Despite many people walking around the birds did not flush, we had a great time in the late afternoon sunlight. Wow, what a day, we listed just under 100 species but must have seen 10,000 or more birds.