Friday, 26 November 2010

Birding a rubbish tip at Gamines

Rubbish tips can be surprising rich with birds. Many people know cattle egret and some gulls relish them.  Actually many more birds find them useful especially if they are near water. There are a good source of food - such as vegetable matter and insects for a wide variety of birds.

I know there is probably a downside of rubbish tips too but am not going to argue the pros and cons of land and water pollution here. I will only report on the bird life!  

Last Saturday afternoon I visited a small tip near Gamines Sebkhet (saltmarsh). This was a short stop towards dusk on a diverted way back to Benghazi having visited Wadi Al Bab.

The tip had some surface water so it had all the ingredients for some decent birding.

Little Owl , Gamines tip

My prize sighting was a little owl. I used to see them regularly in Tripolitania and I knew that the guide books say they are in Cyrenaica but this was my first sighting since coming here in May.  I often see them on the corners of buildings so seeing one on a rock in a tip took me by surprise.

hoopoe, Gamines tip

Hoopoe are a more normal observation for me around tips. I wonder if anyone else in other countries has noticed they like this habitat? Sure enough there were obviously a few at Gamines.

Sardinian warbler, Gamines tip

In the way of some Libyan tips the land is not cleared and bushes often pop up in places. This one housed a Sardinian warbler. This bird is more common in Libya in winter than in summer. I suspect this isn't a breeding site.

cattle egret, gamines tip

As I wrote at the beginning cattle egret are very happy with this habitat and I saw four here.

spanish sparrow

Spanish sparrow roam during the winter months. I haven't seen many in the northern part of Cyrenaica until the past two or three weeks. The bushes here held a flock.

white wagtail

Finally once again I found white wagtail in numbers. Is there any habitat in Libya in winter other than pure desert they don't like? 

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