Moustached Warbler in the middle of the Oman Desert

Migration time in the desert could be very rewarding as surprises could arise everywhere. So happens with a Moustached Warbler, Acrocephalus melanopogon, in the little nice oasis of Mudday in the north-western corner of Dhofar/ Oman.

This passerine bird is a species found in upright aquatic vegetation such as reeds and sedge as it happens in this oasis, too. Found in a tiny patch of reed of a size of maybe 2 squaremeters right in the middle of a concrete pool, which exhibits the core of the oasis area. The oasis was otherwise densely covered by stands of date palms. This bird normally keeps well hidden in dense vegetation and is only located by it´s rattling sound. If once located by their characteristic calls, it might happen, that the bird feels treated when agitated by the sound of a tape recorder. In that case on the 10th of march 2012, at around 10:00 I was successful in shooting the photo of the blog and more pictures, you will see here!

This Old World warbler in the genus Acrocephalus breeds mainly in southern Europe and southern temperate Asia. The bird is supposed to be partially migratory. As it is said, that birds from the south west European range are resident and south east european birds winter in the Mediterranean breeding range, the individuum found here shoult/must be of the asiatic race. Asian birds are known to migrate e.g. to Arabia. But maybe, it is even a wintering bird, as oman is sait to be inside their wintering grounds. Hanne and Jens Eriksen, the heads of the Oman Bird Records Committee write in their 2nd volume of the “Birdwatching Guide to Oman” (2008) that the Moustached Warbler is a vagrant to oman with only 7 records up to that time, 2008.  The bird is an excellent find and requires a Rare Bird Report which will be delivered in due time.

But this was not the only finding of a passerine bird which is normally found in aquatic vegetation such as reeds and sedge. In the garden of the Qatbit Guesthouse I found a pair of Savi’s Warbler,  Locustella luscinioides, in a little, tiny piece of old reed beside an old rotten water pump. This bird is also regarded as a vagrant to oman with only 9 records up to 2008 by Hanne and Jens Eriksen.

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