27th January 2023
After the Oriental Honey Buzzard I had yesterday in Abu Dhabi, I didn’t think I see another in Salalah, Oman and the following day!
The wet weather is still with me after leaving Abu Dhabi as I flew into salalah, Oman, mid-morning. Abu Dhabi was cool but as I stepped out of the airport, I was immediately hit by the warm air. I checked into my digs in the city and mid-afternoon, I was getting stuck into a Lebanese dish. The dark clouds were looming overhead but at 15.00 I slowly headed south towards the beach. The roads I was walking, I had driven on before when I visited Oman 4 years back and it was over a week ago I booked to return. And what’s the first bird I see of note, a male Oriental Honey Buzzard! In the dull conditions, the raptor continued north towards the city. Nearing the beach were 3 Rock Martin, a single Syke’s Wagtail and 4 Ruppell’s Weaver. As I came around the corner from the main road towards Coconut Beach, I was confronted by 100s and 100s of gulls. Cars pull up and feed them!! Well the cars don’t, the people in the vehicles throw out scraps and the gulls invade with House Crows. A quick scan and I managed to pick out a single Caspian Gull with the very large numbers of Heuglin’s and Slender-billed Gulls. There were also Steppe and Sooty Gull but in less numbers with the odd Black-headed Gull. Martin Elliot asked me to get as many pics as I could of the three large larus gulls, Heuglin’s, Steppe and Caspian. So for the next 30 minutes I found myself on my knees trying to get shots of the gulls in different ages and posses.
This male Oreintal Honey Buzzard was my second sighting in Salalah, after having a very close encounter 4 years ago with another male in a park, just up road from where I saw this one.
The 4 Ruppell’s Weaver I’m came across showed well
I came across 2 Red-vained Darters on the side of the main road.
Where this local was attempting to knock down fruit from this tree with a long stick. He offered me one and I discovered that, I gona try one of those again. It tasted like a mix of a very bitter pear and apple and left the inside of your mouth very dry. Similar to that feeling when you put a sloe in your mouth. It was only a fraction bigger than a sloe and as a result, the guy was finding it hard work to pick one off.
Just a tiny fraction of the 100s of gulls
Gulls squabbling and noisy as they grab the left overs thrown out for them
Sooty and Hueglin’s Gull
Sooty, Heuglin’s, Steppe and behind almost out of sight, Slender-billed Gull
That’s enough of gulls and I turned to scan the ocean. A small flock of Socotra Cormorant moved west and there were both Great crested and Caspian Tern fishing out at sea. Closer in there were a single Gull-billed and up to 4 Whiskered Tern and on the shore mixed in with the terns and gulls were good numbers of waders including, Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Common sandpiper, Grey Plover, Oystercatcher and east overhead, 13 Glossy Ibis passed through. As it was a Friday, the beach was overcrowded but not one single body was in the water. The dark clouds made it dark earlier than usual and I began making my way back to my digs. I had to pass the gulls on the way out and I found myself with even knowing it, goin through them again!
It’s Friday and the beach was overcrowded as far as the eye could see
So many folks, mainly from east Asia, would see me with my camera and super duber long lens and ask me to take a photo of them. The SLR clicks and they rush over to see what they look like on the back of the camera. Some immediately walk off while others I chat to. It got kinda of crazy when I was asked repeatably over and over again and I refused. I’ve discovered this happens all the time when I go abroad in the Middle East or Asia.
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