Masirah, Oman’s largest island, lies 15 km from Shannah on the eastern coast of Oman. It measures 65 km long from north to south, and most of its 12000 people are concentrated at the northern end. Among birders, the island is best known as a ‘trap’ for migrants and vagrants crossing the Indian Ocean, for a small breeding population of Crab Plovers Dromas ardeola, and for the impressive variety of seabirds that can be seen mainly at its southern end.

Magnus and René made a quick visit in April 2010, when they ended up focussing on species other than these specialities. For example, they were surprised to find Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus, Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus and Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus all together at a small pool with waders. The vultures were coming and going from their perches on a metal frame. When Magnus placed a microphone very close to their perch, he picked up many of their sounds, but none that required the use of their rarely heard voice.

The ferry port of Shannah borders a large area of mudflats where spectacular numbers of waders spend the non-breeding season. The Sound Approach has been there twice, including a longer visit in February 2014. Prominent species include Reef Heron Egretta gularis, Lesser Sand Plover Anarhynchus atrifrons and Saunders’s Tern Sternula saundersi. We recorded much more, including Crab Plovers, but we’ll save those for another day.

Masirah and Shannah, Oman

Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus, Masirah, Ash Sharqiyah, Oman, 21 April 2010 (René Pop)

Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus, Shannah, Ash Sharqiyah, Oman, 09:09, 19 February 2014 (Mark Constantine). A flock of c 120, of which c 10 were displaying at any given time.

Masirah and Shannah, Oman

Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus, Masirah, Ash Sharqiyah, Oman, 21 April 2010 (René Pop)

 

 

 

Masirah and Shannah, Oman

Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus, Masirah, Ash Sharqiyah, Oman, 21 April 2010 (René Pop)

Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus, Masirah, Ash Sharqiyah, Oman, 10:48, 21 April 2010 (Magnus Robb). Wingbeats of several, and the sound of their talons hitting a metal bar. Background: Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus, Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis, Little Stint Calidris minuta and Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia.

Masirah and Shannah, Oman

Reef Heron Egretta gularis, Shannah, Ash Sharqiyah, Oman, 22 April 2010 (René Pop)

Reef Heron Egretta gularis, Shannah, Ash Sharqiyah, Oman, 06:52, 19 February 2014 (Mark Constantine). Two flight calls, then several long aggressive calls as one displaces another. Background: Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus, Lesser Sand Plover Anarhynchus atrifrons, Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia and Clamorous Reed Warbler Acrocephalus stentoreus.

Masirah and Shannah, Oman

Lesser Sand Plover Anarhynchus atrifrons, Masirah, Ash Sharqiyah, Oman, 21 April 2010 (René Pop)

Lesser Sand Plover Anarhynchus atrifrons, Shannah, Ash Sharqiyah, Oman, 08:07, 19 February 2014 (Mark Constantine). Flight calls as several pass over the microphones. Background: Clamorous Reed Warbler Acrocephalus stentoreus.

Masirah and Shannah, Oman

Saunders’s Tern Sternula saundersi, Shannah, Ash Sharqiyah, Oman, 21 April 2010 (René Pop)

Saunders’s Tern Sternula saundersi, Khawr Rawri, Dhofar, Oman, 11:00, 15 November 2002 (Killian Mullarney). Various calls including a partial long call. Background: Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus, Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola and Little Stint Calidris minuta.