Oman diary, October 2019: We had decided to travel along the coast from Salalah to the Yemen border, retracing steps from previous years, but it’s a fantastic drive with many unexpected sights, so it’s always a pleasure to retrace, but that’s for another post.
One deep wadi, Wadi Sayq is the last major road construction hurdle before you get to Sarfayt, the town before the Yemen border.
Quite how this road was constructed amazes me, carved down the sides of the towering cliffs, hairpin bends, horrifying drops and, with the effects of the previous year’s cyclone and the rains just before we arrived, landslides and road cave-ins littered the route down.
The wadi is inaccessible from the coast, towering heights plummet down to the shore on either side and unless you are fully equipped and ready for some serious boulder climbing, there are few places you are able to access the wadi where the road crosses it.
But it is worth trying to find those few places. Wadi Sayq is remote, inaccessible and home to a huge variety of flora and fauna, not least the Arabian leopard, according to papers from many different biodiversity expeditions to this Wadi.
It’s where I found my first and so far, my only find of a Joker butterfly.
Byblia ilithyia is unmistakable. The underside, a honey color crisscrossed with pattern and the upperside a deep orange with black bars, it’s a strikingly, beautiful butterfly.
The distribution of ilithyia stretches from Niger/Burkina Faso to Ethiopia, Southwestern Arabia and Dhofar; it reappears in dry Southern India and Sri Lanka.
In Dhofar, this butterfly is quite common in the dense vegetation of the scarp and in the valleys of the coast
it was an unexpected sight to stumble across, but I had my camera to hand!
It didn’t stay around too long, but I took my shots… very gratifying to stumble across this beauty!
Habitat Information from the “The Butterflies of Oman” by Torben and Kiki Larsen.