As we arrived the tide was just beginning to turn and from the pier that leads to the ferry terminal we were astonished by the sheer number of birds present. It was truly a spectacular sight and one I have never experienced before, we stood mesmerised looking out along the shoreline that stretched for miles, it was absolutely covered in birds, a conservative estimate was 25,000.
|view from the beach into Shannah Bay|
this is the wader list for Shannah Bay:
Other sightings included Osprey, Marsh Harrier, Short-toed Lark, Desert Wheatear and all the usual gulls and terns. What a fantastic place! We spent a couple of hours in the area trying to find tracks that would get us closer to other parts of the bay, without success, so, reluctantly we set off on our final leg of the journey back to Muscat. We had about 300km to travel and we had all day to do it in.
A late afternoon stop at a river estuary in the town of Quriyat produced a huge number of Great Black-headed Gulls as well as Sandwich, Leaser-crested and Swift Terns. Later we made a road-side stop to look at raptors, we found two magnificent Lappet-faced Vultures, 4 Egyptian Vultures and a Common Kestrel.
|Blackstart - my final picture|
Our last stopped was look at a Hume’s Wheatear, we had seen a couple perched along the road and now we had one in the scope, my final lifer of the trip! Furthermore a falcon circled above us, we identified it as a Barbary Falcon, our final bird of the trip, not bad.
Well the trip was over, we spent the evening in Muscat, where we had a nice meal on the terrace of a restaurant overlooking the sea before driving to the airport for the flight home.
What a surprisingly excellent birding location Oman really is, all preconceptions of dry dusty desert conditions are quickly forgotten when you are confronted by lakes, lagoons, streams and marshes, especially in the south where mountains, picturesque rivers, verdant woodland and river estuaries are abundant with vibrant wild-life.
Birds, Butterflies, mammals and reptiles are all waiting in good numbers for you to discover. There is also the possibility of discovering a 'first' for this under-watched region as we discovered the Lesser Whistling Ducks which are only the fourth record for Oman.
WATCH OUT FOR DETAILS ON OUR NEW WEBSITE FOR FUTURE TOURS TO OMAN.