Saturday, 20 November 2010

Jaghboub Village's resident birds

We were told the village of Jaghboub has only 300 inhabitants before we arrived. Wikipedia says something similar. However we formed our own opinion that the village was at least twice the published size. We counted 8 supermarkets come general stores!

The houses are separated from the date plantations. We birded both areas. My guess is we are the first people to bird any part of the settlement. So what you see in this blog may be the world's collective knowledge of this place!

To make sure there is no misunderstanding, this blog only reports about resident or possible resident birds. The next one writes about wintering species.

a view of Jaghboub. Photo by Mariol Flegson

As in most Saharan settlements, the battle for the main house bird is being won by the white- crowned wheatear. This juvenile above was a good mimic. He was literally singing like a canary. He convinced me there was a caged bird around until I looked up and saw him.

juvenile white-crowned wheatear, Jaghboub

House sparrow may not have been around the houses but they have made the derelict Italian fort their own. There was clearly some nesting going on. I suppose this means they could breed all year round.

a couple of house sparrow on top of the Italian fort

Other very noticeable residents were a group of about ten brown-necked raven. These were the first birds we saw when we arrived in town.

brown-necked raven, Jaghboub

The brown-necked raven were particularly fond of perching on the highest tree in the settlement (and for 125 kilometres in any direction).

cattle egret, date plantation, Jaghboub

After walking through the village, we headed to the date plantations. These contained several irrigation channels with fresh water. They were a magnet for resident and wintering birds alike. Above are cattle egret next to one of the channels (part of a larger group) and who were very tame. This was a feature of quite a few (but not all) of the bird species. The tameness is helped by the fact that the plantation workers completely ignore the birds while they drink. 

One of the less tame birds were the reed warbler we heard but only glimpsed in the reeds next to the main water channel between the plantations. 

kestrel, date plantation, Jaghboub

The bird activity is enough to sustain a local kestrel population.  This reminds me there were local pigeon and laughing dove which are not photographed.  We didn't see any turtle dove. Turtle dove migrate in the north of Libya but are resident at Kufra Oasis further south. It would appear Jaghboub is more like the north in this regard.

There was one embarrassing moment when a local person showed me a lanner falcon he had captured the day before. He couldn't understand why I didn't want to photograph it. Anyway, I think its safe to assume that lanner falcon is still a local breeder provided the last one has not just been taken out of circulation.

After walking through the date plantations we noticed one farm was detached from the others. We walked over to it and noticed a desert grey shrike on a near-by pylon. Either desert grey shrike or great grey shrike is literally everywhere in Libya from north to south and from east to west. 

desert grey shrike, Jaghboub

House sparrow is not the only sparrow in Jaghboub.  There is also a roaming flock of spanish sparrow.

spanish sparrow, Jaghboub

Although I have put this bird in the blog on resident birds, my instinct is that it is only here in the winter. I have seen them much more in Cyrenaica in the past three weeks in places they haven't been all summer. Also they didn't seem to have any fixed territory like the house sparrow.  If anyone birds Jaghboub in summer then please solve this question.   

Tomorrow we can look at Jaghboub's definite wintering birds.

1 comment:

  1. One cannot help but appreciate the possibly cutting edge or first ever observational aspects of this blog, e.g. Jaghboub, demonstrated of recent in your reported sojourn there. Also tempting to agree facilely and simply with interesting speculations as to whether a particular bird or sighting has uniqueness, another interesting if compelling aspect of your blog. Photography is striking.