Jacana bannee.full

Some great sightings as we move further north, unfortunately the end of the trip is in sight! CRAB PLOVER still missing from the list but we did find Lesser Whistling Duck - only the fourth record for Oman of this rare species!


 Very little birding was done today as we continued our long sojourn back to Muscat, we covered about 600km and ended up camping just outside of the town of Muhut (or Mahoot). However, as usual, we had 2-3 very good hours of birding first thing in the morning. We got up at 6am and drove to the edge of town where a huge expanse of wetlands covered an area between the beach and the main road. The wetlands comprised of freshwater lagoons, marsh and open scrubland and was full of birds as usual.

Pheasant-tailed Jacana

 One of the first good sightings was of a Pheasant-tailed Jacana, it was very flighty as we have found whenever we encountered this species, so we never managed to get good pictures of it. Scanning the largest pool we recorded a good number of ducks: Shoveler, Pintail, Teal, Garganey, Common Pochard and Gadwall. Then to our great surprise and delight a group of 9 Whistling Duck flew in, they turned out to be Lesser Whistling Duck a rarity for Oman and a lifer for both of us.

Dancho in the early morning light with a string of Whistling Ducks behind him


Other birds in and around the pool included: Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Common Snipe, Little Stint, Common Sandpiper, Greenshank, Ruff, Greater Flamingo and the usual array of herons and egrets.

a good sighting - only the 4th for Oman - Lesser Whistling Duck

We then walked to the beach for a spot of sea-watching, there were a lot of birds out there, we managed a good list which included two new birds for the trip with Masked Booby being another lifer for the two of us. Greater Crested Tern, Little Tern, Swift Tern and Lesser Crested Tern were out there, also Socotra Cormorant and hundreds of gulls.

another sighting of Daurian Shrike

  The 3-4 hours was spent putting some mileage on the clock, it was about 1pm when we pulled up at our second (and last) birding site of the day. This was Khawr Ghawi which is a huge lagoon some 8km in length and about 500 meters wide, it stretched out running parallel to the sea and separated from it by a huge sand-dune system. It was tidal, the tide was almost high so some mud remained exposed. The whole area was covered in birds even scoping the very distant horizon we could see birds. Waders dominated as you would expect but gulls came a close second. One new wader for the list was Greater Sand Plover, it was great to see this species alongside Lesser Sand Plover, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover and Kentish Plover. Also present were: Dunlin, Terek Sandpiper, Little & Temminck’s Stint, Whimbrel, Eurasian Curlew, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Bar-tailed Godwit and Greenshank.

Lesser Sand Plovers with Ringed Plover

In the distant we could see hundreds of Greater Flamingos and even more Slender-billed Gulls, an Osprey sat on a sand-bar and many herons and egrets were dotted about all around the lagoon.

That concluded our birding for the most part, other than sightings from the car (Common Kestrel, Brown-necked Raven) and a stop to stretch our legs, where we saw Asian Desert Warbler, our birding day was over.

a Curlew with a very long bill - probaby Asian (Eastern) Curlew

We drove until 5pm and on reaching our destination we set up camp and we to bed. Tomorrow is our last full day, we still have about 350 kilometers to travel but we intend to go out with a bang and try to bag our most wanted wader, the Crab Plover, watch this space.