03 August 2013

To the West and back

Week 31, 02 August 2013 - Al Abraq (Click to enlarge image)

David White and I decided to head west to check for early autumn migrant arrivals. As always, this working oasis farm can be hit and miss for the long drive, but it is in the middle of the western desert and is just great to be out in some mixed habitat.

Most of the action was around the pool near the entrance gate where there is now a lot of reeds and more cover for the birds. Barn Swallows and Sand Martins were hawking over the reeds when we arrived and two Squacco Herons flushed when we parked the car to walk.

There were a few early Autumn arrivals with Hoopoes and a few very skittish European Rollers; these could be survivors from the Spring and because of shooting are just very wary of people. Fortunately these few have arrived during Ramadan when it is quiet and peaceful and wildlife is treated with respect. Sadly after Eid the Autumn carnage and shooting of migratory birds will commence - let the killing begin again!

European Roller (Coracias garrulus)
Walking around the farm, we encountered a few Warblers working through the lower parts of the Acacia trees and I suspect these are Marsh Warblers.

Marsh Warbler (Acrocephalus palustris)

Marsh Warbler (Acrocephalus palustris)
Overhead an oddly plumaged Martin got the pulse going a little, but when checking the image on the monitor, I discovered it to be an oiled Sand Martin.

Oiled Sand Martin (Riparia riparia)
Whilst walking we came across this very shy and skittish cat which has some characteristics of a Wild Cat, but is obviously a hybrid Wild x Domestic Cat

Domestic x Wild Cat Hybrid
Back at the pool, one of the first Steppe Buzzards was seen perched and contemplating coming down for a drink

Steppe Buzzard (Buteo b. vulpinus)
We will be back in 2-weeks time and it should be a very different experience with the birds arriving in numbers, together with the shooters!

But even before they even arrive in Kuwait, this is what they have to negotiate coming into Egypt - Jonathan Franzen: 'Egypt is the worst place to be a migratory bird'

Of course killing of migratory birds is not just restricted to Egypt, it takes place across the Mediterranean as can be seen in this recent article - http://focusingonwildlife.com/news/massive-bird-slaughter-around-the-mediterranean-shocking-photos/

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