OMAN ALBUM

 

 

Oman 2016

 

 

John was back in Oman in late January leading our latest Omani adventure combining an exciting dolphin watch off the north coast at Muscat a trip into the "Empty Quarter"

in deepest Oman and finally to the life giving springs in the Dhofar Mountains above Salalah. We plan to return in late 2017 and again in early 2018.

 

 

 

The King of Gulls the Pallas's or Great-black Headed Gull on the beach at Musannah

 

 

 

A favourite bird of the wooded valleys in the Dhofar Mountains is this Bruce's Green Pigeon

 

 

Two species attracted to the many springs that seep from the mountains are the Blackstart and the endemic Arabian Golden-winged Grosbeak

 

 

The desert scenery in Oman is simply stunning

 

 

 

 

 

We spent some time studying the gulls around the fish harbour at Raysut.

Below left our two young Heuglin's Gulls and below right a young Steppe Gull accompanied by a Slender-billed Gull

 

 

 

 

 

Two special wheatears are to be found in southern Oman on the left is the Desert Wheatear which is a winter visitor from

the deserts of Central Asia. The South Arabian Wheatear, on the right, is an endemic resident species.

 

 

 

 

 

After the tour John returned to the Al Hajar mountains for a short stay and he managed to locate a small flock of Sociable Plovers

 

Some footage of a feeding Sociable Lapwing at Barka Oman February 2016

 

 

 

 

 

Oman 2015

 

In late January we made our annual trip to the Sultanate of Oman, a wonderful country of mountain, desert and coastal habitats.

The capital Muscat has seen some new developments recently including a new mosque which dominates the cities skyline.

 Our hotel was not to far away and Phil captured the following night time images

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the features of the tour are the huge numbers of gulls which winter on the Omani coastline taken advantage of the waste

from fishery operations. The gulls originate from breeding grounds as far away as the edges of the Arctic and the Steppes of Central Asia

 

 

The Great Black-headed or Pallas's Gull is perhaps the most striking of all the large gulls and it is common  along the beaches

of the north east coast of Oman. We saw several hundred on this years tour.

 

 

The attractive Sooty Gull is a resident bird and present along the whole coastline

 

 

 

On the beaches along the northern coasts Steppe Gulls from Central Asia mingle with the larger Pallas's Gulls

 

 

Heuglin's Gulls are commonest gull along the southern coasts and around Salalah

 

 

They are easy to entice with fish scraps to allow for better views and photographic opportunities

 

 

Common birds to be found around Muscat included this Laughing Dove

 

 

Indian Rollers also add to the feel of the "subcontinent"

 

 

 

Pallid Swifts were already returning to their breeding sites around the capital

 

 

Little Green Bee eaters are a common sight of the cities parks and gardens

 

 

As we headed south the landscape changed dramatically

 

 

As did the birdlife which here has a distinctly African feel

Bruce's Green Pigeons favour the fig trees found in the verdant oases

 

 

African Paradise Flycatchers flit around the shadows

 

The "percivali" race of Black-crowned Tchagra is a unique resident

 

 

Palestine Sunbirds added a splash of colour

 

 

Specialities of the Dhofar region included this Arabian Warbler

 

 

A Tristram's Grackle takes a welcome sip

 

 

The localised Yemen Serin is also attracted to water "on tap"

 

 

 

A visit to the desert interior provided excellent views of Spotted Sandgrouse at a waterhole

 

 

This Desert Warbler showed well at the same oasis

 

 

whilst this Hoopoe Lark was attracted to the camel pens

 

 

Desert Wheatears were one of the commonest birds at an irrigated melon farm

 

 

 

Black-crowned Sparrow Larks were also found there in good numbers

 

 

Isabelline Shrikes are a common winter visitor and passage migrant

 

The desert race of Southern Grey Shrike which breeds in Oman

 

 

 

The Salalah area is famous for the number of raptors that winter there primarily Steppe Eagles

 

 

Juvenile Eastern Imperial Eagles are striking birds, one is mirrored here by passing Abdim's Storks

 

 

Greater Spotted Eagles occur in small numbers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Oman 2014

 

In late January/early February 2014 John led Bird Holidays tenth tour to the Sultanate of Oman.

The tour started in the capital Muscat from where we explored various coastal marshes and high mountain valleys

We then headed south to the extensive deserts of the Rub' al Kali or the "Empty Quarter"

Finally from our luxurious base on the shores of the Arabian Sea we scoured the Dhofar Mountains and their verdant oases

Tour participant Bob Martin took this selection of wonderful images

 

 

 

 

A juvenile Purple Heron flew in to feed on a small stream in Qrm Park

 

 

Indian Rollers are a common roadside bird in the north

 

 

A visit to the Al Ansab wetland produced this fine White-tailed Lapwing

 

 

The beaches were literally littered with gulls of every persuasion including this resident Sooty Gull

 

 

Graceful Slender-billed Gulls were present in every gathering

 

 

Pallid Harriers hunt Desert Wheatears on the dusty plains

 

Ospreys are regularly seen on the coast

 

Whilst the rocky landscapes of the Jabal Al Hajar provide home to numerous Egyptian Vultures

 

 

Eagles are a feature of this tour and we find hundreds of Steppe Eagles in the south

 

 

Whilst careful searching can produce very fine views of young Eastern Imperial Eagles

 

 

 

A desert oasis provides food and shelter to tired migrants and winter visitors from Iran and Central Asia

 

 

 

The sought after Hypocolius comes to feed in the date palms

 

 

Vocal Red-breasted Flycatchers defend winter feeding territories in the scrub

 

 

 Bruce's Green Pigeons doze in the trees irrigated by the many springs that seep from the Dhofar Mountains

 

 

The percivali race of Black-crowned Tchagra is a common resident

 

Shining Sunbirds add a splash of vibrant colour

 

Whilst the Palestine Sunbird favours the Custard Apple trees

 

 

Ruppell's Weavers are starting to weave their hanging nests

 

 

Coastal marshes or Khawrs attract small numbers of egrets and Glossy Ibis

 

 

South Arabian Wheatear is restricted to southern Saudi Arabia The Yemen and southern Oman

 

The Arabian Warbler is another speciality of this region

 

A pair of splendid Bonelli's Eagles occupy a dramatic sinkhole

 

 

 

 

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Bird Holidays Tour to Oman in 2013

 

 In the winter many Great black-headed Gulls can be found on the beaches of Northern Oman

 

 

                                                                                                    Already in late January these birds were acquiring their striking black heads

 

The attractive Sooty Gull is also a common sight on the beaches on all coasts

 

 

 

A bewildering selection of Large White-headed Gulls includes a mixture of Heuglin's Gulls, depicted here , Caspian and Steppe Gulls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steppe Eagles are another common winter visitor to Oman, we saw 4-500 at one site alone!

 

 

 

Pallid Harriers are also present in small numbers hunting larks and pipits at the cattle farms

this one had caught a Desert Wheatear!

 

 

 

 

A special bird to find in Oman is this Hypocolius we saw a male and this female at Qitbit

 

 

 

This stonechat at Sohar was unusual and shows characters of the Caspian race variegata

note the wheatear like tail pattern

 

 

 

A mixed party of Common and Demoiselle Cranes graced a lagoon near Salalah

The same site also held a Pied Kingfisher, only the 7th record for Oman, and this Pheasant-tailed Jacana

 

Abdim's Stork is an occasional winter visitor to Oman from East Africa

 

 

 

Desert Wheatear is a common winter visitor, other species of wheatear include the Red-tailed Wheatear

 

 

 

Please note: The above photographs were taken on previous trips. Itineraries change from time to time and therefore you cannot rely on these photographs as being an exact representation of what can be expected on a future tour. For details of the each tour, you should refer to the brochure write-up.

 

 

click here for details of our next tour to this destination

 

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