One of the changes was a big increase in the number of birds of prey. The star one was a spotted eagle.
first shot of the spotted eagle
I had not seen any spotted eagle since arriving in Oman. All the 100 or so eagles at Raysut rubbish dump have been steppe eagle though I have seen booted eagle, short toed eagle and eastern imperial eagle elsewhere.
spotted eagle heading towards me
another shot of the spotted eagle
The default position is greater spotted eagle and I am putting it into e-bird as that but without total conviction. This is because I have been going with the balance of opinion when it comes to identifying birds of prey however unpalatable it is to my view which favoured lesser spotted eagle. On BirdForum more experts backed greater spotted eagle over lesser spotted eagle or a hybrid.
As and when I get more confident in bird of prey identification my policy will change! I don't take a democratic approach to identification in most other areas. Gulls are the other main exception.
underside picture of spotted eagle
The bird felt different in the field from many tens of the greater spotted eagle I saw in Saudi Arabia. The picture above is not perfect yet the underneath flight feathers look darker than in a typical greater spotted eagle which could be put down to denser and more even barring that lesser spotted eagle has. The double comma is more of a lesser spotted eagle characteristic too.
Another argument in favour of lesser spotted eagle on BirdForum is that the white flashes on primary bases are too extensive for GSE.
However the counter arguments are based on the overall structure, size and shape more than plumage. More expert people on Birdforum have supported greater spotted eagle than lesser spotted eagle and I acknowledge that.
As I said before writing in depth about the spotted eagle, East Khawr had more birds of prey. The others were five marsh harrier. This is a high density of marsh harriers for such a small area. I assume it is because the numbers of waders and other birds was also very high.
The picture above was taken out of my car window when the window was closed hence the slightly odd colours.
sleeping red-necked phalarope
The numbers of waders around was very large. There were at least 100 ruff, tens of Kentish plover, ringed plover and lesser numbers of lesser sand plover and greater sand plover. There were fifteen or so Pacific golden plover. There were curlew sandpiper, curlew, greenshank and redshank but nothing truly exotic this time.
Despite the threat from the marsh harrier, a small number of birds were asleep. Presumably they were tired following a long migration.
A red-necked phalarope was one of these.
sleeping juvenile ruff
African sacred ibis
The duck population has stabilised but the composition keeps changing. The last wave includes more gadwell.
European collared dove