Oman - February 2017

My birding buddy Jan and I went on a self-organized 10-day birding trip to Oman. Oman is a peaceful, friendly country with a bird diversity second to none in the Middle East. In December, January and February, when the weather is just perfect, there is a very high density of wintering raptors. Greater Spotted Eagle, Steppe Eagle and even Eastern Imperial Eagles are plentiful. The southern region is influenced by the Indian Monsoon, resulting in flora and fauna unique in Arabia. The birds here have both African and Arabian influences.

We started in the South of Oman, in Salalah where we spent 5 days checking out the different birding spots in the South, as set out in the great bird book Birdwatching Guide to Oman by Sargeant & Eriksen. After that, we drove east to Ash Shuwaimiyah where we found the much sought after species Masked Booby, Socotra Cormorant and Hooded Wheatear.

The next day, we took the 250 km long highway West through barren desert terrain to Thumrayt, which was the only place where we found Egyptian Vultures. Of course, one night and a birding day around Qatbit, 200 km North of Thumrayt,  was planned and it didn't disappoint us.

The next morning we drove back down to Thumrayt where we decided to take the road West to Muddayy (80 km) in an attempt to find Nile Vally Sunbirds and Desert Larks. I don't know whether we were lucky, but we found both these birds very quickly on the sides of the road.

The last two days were spent again in the Salalah area where we managed to return to the wonderful beach hotel Beach Villas!

In total we found a amazing number of 140 different species in this amazingly bird rich country.