Pallas's Gull, Ras as Sawadi, Oman

OUR AUTUMN MIGRATION TOUR OF OMAN IS ALWAYS TOO EARLY TO SEE THE AWESOME PALLAS'S GULL, however, this month's Omani Owl Expedition offered a golden opportunity to get to grips with it. Despite at least one million 4x4 ethusiasts bombing up and down the beach at Ras as Sawadi the gulls stayed put just long enough for us to get a little closer to them. Our peak count over a couple of visits was an impressive 51, some of which were already showing fairly solid black hoods. A couple of Black-headed Gulls, scarce winter visitors to Oman, were also present and terns included Caspian, Greater and Lesser Crested and Sandwich as well as a Little/Saunders’s out of range for identification. A pair of Egyptian Vultures, and a Western Osprey were resting on the offshore islands here and a big push of Pallid Swifts had reached around 100 by the time we left in the evening. Four Eurasian Oystercatchers, a couple of Grey Plovers, Bar-tailed Godwits, Kentish, both Lesser and Greater Sandplovers (some of the latter in nice breeding plumage) were the most interesting shorebirds present, however, there was a large number of phalaropes out to sea, fluttering over the waves like insects while Arctic Skuas chased distant terns on the horizon.

Pallas's Gulls, Ras as Sawadi, Oman