Oman Butterfly diary 2-Byblia ilithyia, Joker…

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.


Weekly Photo challenge : Evanescent…

This week, WordPress weekly photo challenge asks us to show us a moment in time that holds meaning for you.

My photo was taken under the bridge that connects the mainland of Oman to Shannah port for the ferry to the island of Masirah.

I was using my new camera, a Fujifilm X-T20 and I had little idea of the settings when I took this, having been taught manual photography in the Nikon world. Each time you move, you have to understand the product-speak to relate to what you know..

( I am impatient, black mark) but a lesson to self, this is a camera that needs to be loved and cared for, the results are incredible

My past is in art and I see this shot in this way, even though the exposure is all wrong, the colours are intensified, it just gives a clue to what you can do to play with a picture…This shot is my played out and edited result…




Monday Window: 1/8/16

From the city of Salalah in Southern Oman to the Yemen border, the road twists and turns through a series of hairpin bends, eventually climbing to the top of the escarpment, with towering cliffs plummeting down to the Indian ocean.

During monsoon a pervading mist hangs over the escarpment but every so often, when the road gets to about 1000 metres high, you pop out of the mist into bright, brilliant sunshine with incredible views and on this particular release into sunlight, even a small pink shelter perched on top of the mountain, with rather striking brickwork for the windows.

Such buildings and design are typical in Oman, used as shelters from the sun (sometimes rain, as this area receives a fair amount)  with the air bricks allowing for cool air in the heat of the day, although it’s the first pink one I’ve ever seen….

Taking part in Monday Window, a weekly event, pop over and join in the challenge….

Monday Window Home

Monday Window Home


Thursday Doors

DSC_2796 (1)

A typical Omani door in rural areas. This door leads directly into the house, sometimes the houses have a walled courtyard and larger doors or gates are the entry point, with no visibility of the house behind, for privacy purposes.The colour in this desert environment is a welcome sight and stands out from the muted surrounding sand tones.

Weekly Photo challenge : Optimistic #2

  1. disposed to take a favorable view of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome.
  2. reflecting a favorable view of events and conditions and the expectation of a positive outcome; demonstrating
 In distant areas of Oman, towns are small, huge distances between each and surrounded by thousands of kilometers of sand and gravel plains, with some dune desert areas. Sand is everywhere… in this region, it’s part of life. Flashing through one of these small towns yesterday on the way back to the big Dubai city, passing these workers, their task of sweeping the sand away seemed somewhat optimistic.


Driving the Jebel Al Harim road to the Rawdah bowl, Musandam peninsula, Oman

Dubai to Rawdah, Oman via Jebel Al Harim..

Dubai to Rawdah, Oman via Jebel Al Harim..


On a separate trip to Musandam, a visit to the mountain of Jebel Al Harim beckoned. Inland from Khasab and on the route via Wadi Bih to the town of Dibba on the east coast of the peninsula. Sadly the Dibba border is only open to GCC nationals, so a retracing of the route is required if you are not blessed with such a document….  Continue reading