The fertile lowlands of north-eastern Oman, facing a 350 km stretch of the Indian Ocean from the headland of Ras As Sawadi to the Emirates border, are known as the Al Batinah region. Their birdlife shows many affinities with that of south-eastern Iran and the Indian subcontinent, just 1000 km away across the Arabian Sea. Common species include Red-wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus, Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis and House Crow Corvus splendens.

Magnus and René visited the area together in 2010 and 2013, and it was during the latter visit that they rediscovered Omani Owl in the nearby Al Hajar mountains. Those same mountains capture the moisture that waters the Al Batinah lowlands, and this protects them from the harsh conditions of the desert to the southwest. 

Al Batinah Coast, Oman

Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis, Shinas, Al Batinah, Oman, 12 April 2010 (René Pop)

Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis, Shinas, Al Batinah, Oman, 11:38, 12 April 2010. (Magnus Robb). Display flight of a male. Background: House Crow Corvus splendens, Common Myna Acridotheres tristis, Purple Sunbird Cinnyris asiaticus and House Sparrow Passer domesticus.

Al Batinah Coast, Oman

Sooty Gull Larus hemprichii, Ras As Sawadi, Al Batinah, Oman, 20 March 2013 (René Pop)

Sooty Gull Larus hemprichii, Ras As Sawadi, Al Batinah, Oman, 09:42, 20 March 2013 (Magnus Robb). Long calls of several. Background: outboard motor of small fishing boat.

Al Batinah Coast, Oman

Siberian Buff-bellied Pipit Anthus rubescens japonicus, Sohar Sun farm, Al Batinah, Oman, 23 March 2013 (René Pop).

Siberian Buff-bellied Pipit Anthus rubescens japonicus, Sohar Sun farm, Al Batinah, Oman, 16:09, 23 March 2013 (Magnus Robb). Flight calls of this vagrant when flushed, one of two that Magnus was delighted to find. Background: Crested Lark Galerida cristata.

Al Batinah Coast, Oman

Green Bee-eater Merops orientalis, Shinas, Al Batinah, Oman, 12 April 2010 (René Pop)

Green Bee-eater Merops orientalis, Shinas, Al Batinah, Oman, 11:23, 12 April 2010 (Magnus Robb). Calls when male and female met each other at their favourite perch on a small dead branch. Some of the longer gaps have been shortened. Background: House Crow Corvus splendens, Common Myna Acridotheres tristis, Purple Sunbird Cinnyris asiaticus and House Sparrow Passer domesticus.

Al Batinah Coast, Oman

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater Merops persicus, Sohar Sun farm, Al Batinah, Oman,  14 April 2010 (René Pop)

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater Merops persicus, Majis, Al Batinah, Oman, 12:25, 13 April 2010 (Magnus Robb). Various calls of three individuals coming and going from waist-high dead branches on sand dunes. Background: Green Bee-eater Merops orientalis muscatensis, House Crow Corvus splendens, Common Myna Acridotheres tristis, Purple Sunbird Cinnyris asiaticus and House Sparrow Passer domesticus.