Monday, 27 September 2010

The next wave of waders and more


Last Friday was one week on from my previous visit to a group of coastal wetlands just east of Benghazi and including Ain Azziana and Daryanah.

The cast there had changed quite a bit. Dunlin were still very common and no doubt many will stay the winter. Ringed plover was less common which surprised me as they mostly winter north of the Sahara. It could just have been a case of some local movement during the week. Time will tell.

The large group of turnstone had also disappeared. Perhaps this group went on to winter south of the Sahara.

On the positive side, at Daryanah there was a large flock of ruff. However,  they proved to be extremely jumpy. They alarmed before all the other waders. Eventually though I got good pictures but it was a trial.  

The middle bird in the photo below shown raised feathers on its back which (for me) is a short cut to identification of this bird.

flock of ruff, Daryanah

There was only one larger wader present and he was solitary. This was a single bar-tailed godwit.  I don't know why but I like the look of these birds.

bar-tailed godwit, Daryanah

The dunlin were much more advanced overall towards their winter plumage than a week ago. I find them much more difficult to separate from sanderling once the transformation is complete. Nevertheless I am sure there were a small number of sanderling present and one or two little stint.  

dunlin, Daryanah

Another solitary bird as is often the case for this bird on passage was a grey plover.

grey plover, Daryanah

Apart from the waders (and herons and egrets reported in previous blogs) there were three other water birds to note. This time I saw six kingfisher at Ain Azziana showing that last week's sighting was not a fluke (or vagrant). They are clearly here in numbers in winter. The guides really should recognise this distribution when they are re-printed.

kingfisher, Ain Azziana

The other two water birds seen were: one snipe flushed by mistake when I walked close to it and a small number of moorhen disturbed similarly by accident.

One day I will notice a snipe before it notices me but that day was not last Friday.

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