Saturday, 4 September 2010

What the post office knows about Bonelli's Eagle

My Ramadan break away from Libya is rapidly drawing to a close so it’s only right that my thoughts turn back to my country of work!

During the summer there have been several positive developments in Libyan birding. Perhaps one of the most positive has been the arrival of another bird watcher. His name is Gençer Gencoglu. He is a Turk who is working in Derna. Being in Derna he is close to arguably the best birding area in the country - Jebel Ahkdar.

He has already produced some very interesting results. Like me he is finding birds which are not on the distribution maps of recent guide books. On August 22nd he reported seeing a pair of probable Bonnelli's eagle close up. He reported them near Derna.

My view is that his finding is consistent with their known habitat in other parts of the Mediterranean. In some ways it would be more surprising if the bird wasn't there.

Gencer very intelligently posted his findings on the African Bird Club discussion group. And lo and behold others have seen it too over the years. Neil Baker who lived in Libya in the 1970s (is now a pre-eminent birder in Tanzania) reported that he has many records of Bonelli's in the Jebel Akhdar at that time. 

A week later Pierre Defos du Rau said that a team from Libyan Environmental General Authority and Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas (RAC/SPA - Tunis) recorded two Bonelli's Eagle in January 2005 near Derna city (Libya) in Wadi Al Khalij. 

So the bird is pretty definitely there. Well done to all. This is yet another story of under-reporting and why Libyan bird watching is so exciting. You never know what you are going to see next.

Finally I was looking through a web site on old Libyan bird stamps which depict local resident birds. Yes, you have guessed it. There's one of a Bonelli's eagle from 1976.

So even the post office knows. 

No comments:

Post a Comment