Saturday, 23 January 2010

Jebel Nafusa

The hills which run east-west and are south of Tripoli are called the Jebel Nafusa. Or is that Jabal Nafusa, or Jebel Nufusa, or Jabal Nufusa or any other vowel combination. This is part of the reason it is so difficult to get geographical facts about Libya. The names are inter-changable. I live in Janzour, Zanzor, Janzoor, Zanzoor Janzor or Zanzour. Take your pick.

Anyway, Jebel Nafusa is seriously good for birds how ever you spell it. Moussiers redstart breeds here so don't let those Moroccan bird trip salesmen convince you that you must go to Morocco. Same goes for some other regional specials such as the house bunting. OK, the density of moussiers redstart is quite a lot lower here but I challenge any place to have more density of house buntings than the villages around Gharyan.

Part of the excitement of Jebel Nafusa is its reservoirs. The ones at Wadi Ghan and Wadi Zarat are important sites for water birds and waders. This blog though is not a exposition on all the birds of Jebel Nafusa but it is a record of one December's day out to Wadi Zarat which is in the northern foothills of the range. In addition, after this we went up to the very top of the north eastern side of hill range.

We turned off at a junction on the main Tripoli- Gharyan road some 20 kilometres north of Aziziyah which is famous for having the highest recorded and verified temperature in the world (57 degrees).

Some way down the road, there is a large bird sanctuary on the right. It is a genuine protected area. There is no grazing and there is no access. Things seem to be going well since you can see the natural garrigue has regenerated here. There is an artists impression of a barbary partridge on the gate. And its true there are barbary partridges around as I have seen them near by before. In the fields on the opposite side of the road we saw many crested (see picture below) and thelka larks.

We passed through the village of Az Ziribah. As a typical Jebel Nafusa village it had house buntings but my target bunting kept moving so as compensation here is a photograph of a black wheatear on the edge of the village (see below).

Nine kilometres further on is the entrance to Wadi Zarat. It had very little water (see below). This cames as a shock since a visit to the other wadi (Ghan) in September had shown a full reservoir.

Nevermind the width, feel the quality. We saw many shovelers, teal and ferruginous ducks. This was a good result because ducks are not common (to put it mildly) in western Libya. On the mud flats, there were little ringed plovers, greenshank and black winged stilt (photographed as below) at the same time. So you can see not all black winged stilts go south of the sahara for winter. Quite a few hang out in Libya.

Now I had said that the density of house buntings in the villages is high so I cann't really finish without a picture. It's just not credible to say they are common but I couldn't find one to photograph. So here is one (below) that was taken on the hill plateau at village south of Gharyan later in the day after we had moved on and up from Wadi Zarat.

1 comment:

  1. i never been their what a shame ,but i saw ur photos and i know how it`s looking like.
    Thanks For the Post and Photos Too.