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OMAN

Saturday 20th October - Saturday 3rd November 2018

HANNU JANNES

Grey Hypocolius in Bahrain (Image by tour participant Alec Gillespie)

Grey Hypocolius in Bahrain (Image by tour participant Alec Gillespie)

This, Birdquest’s twelfth tour of Oman & Bahrain, proved yet again a great success for so many reasons. We recorded a respectable total of 220 taxa and 49 Birdquest ‘diamond’ species (regional specialities), and saw great migrants and interesting seabirds. Oman’s special owls have always been one of the highlights of this tour, and we were again very successful in finding, after much intensive searching, the Omani Owl, a species only a small number of people have seen, and we also recorded the newly described Desert Owl, Arabian Scops Owls, Little Owl, and ‘Arabian’ Spotted Eagle-Owl (a potential split from Spotted Eagle-Owl). The mix of Middle Eastern specialities and sought-after migrants encountered on the tour, included Arabian Partridge, Persian Shearwater, Jouanin’s Petrel, Masked and Brown Booby, Verreaux’s Eagle, Red-knobbed Coot, Caspian Plover, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Sooty Gull, Spotted, Lichtenstein’s, Crowned and Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Oriental Turtle and African Collared Doves, Bruce’s Green Pigeon, Forbes-Watson’s Swift, Sooty Falcon, Steppe Grey Shrike, Fan-tailed Raven, Greater Hoopoe Lark, Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark, White-spectacled Bulbul, Streaked Scrub Warbler, Arabian, Asian Desert and Ménétries’s Warblers, Abyssinian White-eye, Tristram’s Starling, Blackstart, Hume’s, Red-tailed & Arabian Wheatears, Nile Valley, Palestine and Shining Sunbirds; Ru¨ppell’s Weaver, Indian Silverbill, Yemen Serin, Arabian Golden-winged Grosbeak and Striolated Bunting. The Kingdom of Bahrain weighed in again with a wonderful pre-roost gathering of 144 Grey Hypocolius, plus Socotra Cormorant and Egyptian Nightjar. A good line-up well worth the small detour across the Gulf! This year’s tour was based on a somewhat changed itinerary, which involved a lot less driving, but skipped the wader watching sites on the east coast of Oman and a few sites in the north of the country. Oman remains the safest country in the Middle East with stunning landscapes, a great road network, generally good food and accommodation throughout and a warm welcome for tourists. In Bahrain our wonderful host, Abdullah, made our stay a very special one as always.

Hume's Wheatear in northern Oman (Image by tour participant Alec Gillespie)

Hume's Wheatear in northern Oman (Image by tour participant Alec Gillespie)