Day 11 WADI KHEESH - RAYSUT SEWAGE POOLS - KHAWR MUGHSAYL - WADI MUGHSAYL
After breakfast at the hotel we drove to the site of the last known Arabian Grosbeak sighting from a few days ago, at Wadi Kheesh. The drive to this spot can only be described as interesting! The road is a bit like a rollercoaster and can leave the passengers in your car feeling a little queezy! Apparently the grosbeak has been coming to a drinking trough, so we staked it out for several hours and enjoyed a constant procession of birds visiting the spot such as numeous Laughing Doves, African Paradise Flycatcher, many Ruppell’s Weaver, African Silverbills and loads of Cinnamon-breasted Buntings, with a pair of Arabian Warblers and an Arabian Sunbird nearby. In the hills above us we saw Eastern Imperial Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, a pair of Bonelli’s Eagles and an Eurasian Sparrowhawk.
We left here rather disappointed at the lack of grosbeaks and zoomed over to Raysut Sewage Works, which never disappoints and we enjoyed good close looks at Abdim’s Storks amongst the hordes of White Storks. There are at least 3 tanks full of water where we saw good numbers of Garganey amongst the Northern Shovelers and Eurasian Teals. Also present were Spur-wingedand Red-wattled Lapwings, Common Ringed Plover, Temminck’s & Little Stints, Green, Marsh & Wood Sandpipers, and best of all an African Sacred Ibis.
From here it’s only around a 45 minute drive to get further south along the coast to Mughsayl beach, where our picnic lunch at the beach was superb as always and was enlivened by some success at seawatching with 5 Persian Shearwaters, a Brown Booby, 100’s of Red-necked Phalaropes passing by, Caspian, Whiskered & Greater Crested Terns, whilst an Arctic Skua was something of a surprise. A large flock of Socotra Cormorants were fishing just offshore and gave great scope views, and at least 2 Eurasian Hobbies were hunting in the hills behind the beach and a Tawny Pipit was seen beside the road. A quick check of Khawr Mughsayl presented us with the usual species already seen so far such as Greater Flamingo’s, Red-knobbed Coot, Glossy Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill, Squacco Heron, Intermediate Egret and Osprey amongst others.
As it was getting towards late afternoon it was the perfect time to head into Wadi Mughsayl, which was excellent as always. The rocky track into the wadi gave us superb views of a group of Arabian Partridges, as well as a single Sand Partridge (but one is all you need right?), several Arabian Wheatears, Desert Lark and Pale Crag-Martin. Once it was dark we had the quickest ever owling session I’ve known here, as we scored blisteringly cracking views of a close Desert Owl within 3 minutes of beginning. Wow!