Monday, 12 April 2010

The passage in Tripoli

Bee-eater, Seraj, Tripoli. early April

Hot on the heals of seeing many bee-eater in Jadu, plenty have started to arrive in metropolitan Tripoli at least in the semi-rural areas. Some will stay in the country but many will fly on to Europe. As previously blogged, tree pipit is another wave of migrant which has been very noticeable. They started to arrive around April 1st, peaked at April 7th but there seem to be only a few left now.

Tree pipit, Janzour, Tripoli. Early April.

But the nightingale is still very much in evidence. It started to arrive earlier than tree pipit but has stayed much longer. The nightingale I photographed nearly two weeks ago is still easily seen (once you know where to look!) under the same bush, morning after morning. I am beginning to wonder whether some of them actually breed here in the most irrigated orchards. There is no previous record of this though.

Woodchat shrike. Seraj, Tripoli. Early April

Another similarity with Jadu is that there have been sightings of woodchat shrike though not in the numbers seen there. Some of these will stay locally but like with bee-eater most move on to Europe.

Great Reed Warbler. Janzour, Tripoli. Early April

One of luckiest sighting of a migrant was of a great reed warbler. One early morning, I was walking down the railway line when I noticed a cat taking an unhealthy interest in a hedge. Two nightingales fled but up popped a great reed warbler (see photographs above) which stood its ground making a great noise with some harsh sounds. This time the cat backed off.

Part of a stone curlew gathering. Seraj, Tripoli, early April

I thought I had seen the last of the gatherings of migrant stone curlew but two days ago I walked to Seraj and saw another one. This group was 5 kilometres from the place where I had seen the other gatherings.

The last week in Tripoli has not all been about passage migrants. I was surprised to see greenfinch as late as April 6th west of Janzour. This bird is documented as a winter visitor. The location where I saw it is a bit special. One farmer (or his family through the years) has kept a pristine cypress wood with about 200 hundred trees. The wood is probably many tens of years old. As far as I know this is the largest native woodland left in Tripolitania. It is cool and shaded. I suspect it will be the last place from which winter woodland visitors leave. It is the same place by the way that I had seen my only blackbird since coming to Libya. It's a long shot but it just possible greenfinch may stay.

pristine cypress woodland west of Janzour, Tripoli

Greenfinch on the edge of pristine cypress woodland, near Janzour. early April

Meanwhile the resident birds have been getting on with life. There are many young desert grey shrike screaming for food. It is a bit disconcerting to see adults carrying off young (live) sparrows to their young. However I have seen this twice in the last two days.

Young and adult desert grey shrike, Janzour. Early April

The turtle dove population is settled and the sardinian warbler is breeding.

local turtle dove and sardinian warbler. Janzour, Tripoli. Early April

Another local bird strongly in evidence and in breeding plumage now is cattle egret. This bird is not even acknowledged as present in Libya according to some recent guides. They forgot to tell the birds! The serious issue is that there is undoubtably underreporting of many bird species in Libya.

For several birds, I now look at the distribution in south east Tunisia and use that as my working assumption.

A group of cattle egret, Janzour, Tripoli. Early April

Barn swallow is very numerous this year too.

Barn swallow. Janzour, Tripoli. Early April

And the barbary partridge are still running away from me!

Barbary partridge. Janzour, Tripoli. Early April

1 comment:

  1. Lucky you to see so many various beautiful migrators!
    Cheers from South Sinai :)