Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Journey to Jaghboub

On Saturday (the second full day of our road trip) we travelled from Tobruk to Jaghboub not before we had enjoying a very pleasant night at the guesthouse of Tobruk hospital. Apparently the British Ambassador had stayed there three night's before. I can see why because the accommodation and hospitality was superb. Also like him we visited the war cemeteries and paid our respects. 

The trip to Jaghboub from Tobruk is 280 kilometres going southeast into the desert but I started birding before we even left the hospital. I had a quick look round the well maintained gardens while others were just waking.

Tobruk hospital guest house

The gardens had resident very large numbers of house sparrow and some winter visiting robin and white wagtail.

robin, Tobruk

What was more surprising was that the gardens had several wintering meadow pipit too.

white wagtail, Tobruk

We finally started out for Jaghboub at about 9am.  After only a few kilometres  we realised we were virtually the only car on the road going in our direction. The rain we had had on the coast persisted a surprising 50 kilometres or more inland. The land was semi-desert rather than pure desert for the first 125 kilometres.

hoopoe lark, 100 kilometres south east of Tobruk

We stopped for quite some time at one spot en route. It was amazingly productive. It was 100 kilometres south east of Tobruk. I chose it because it had more vegetation than the rest of that area (but still very sparse!). There were two other reasons which made me think it would be good place. The first was that there was a derelict house there and the second was there was an abandoned car too.  Both seem to attract birds. My theory is they provide shade in the summer which is unavailable elsewhere.

Anyway the theory worked. There were three types of lark there - hoopoe lark, bar-tailed lark and crested lark.  

desert wheatear, 100 K south east of Tobruk

But that wasn't all. There were at least two desert wheatear and two types of wagtail - white wagtail  and more surprisingly a yellow wagtail. 

trumpeter finch, 100 K south east of Tobruk

Because this place was so productive, we stopped there two days later on the day back. Lo and behold we saw an extra four species. This time there was also a chiffchaff, a black redstart, a flock of trumpeter finch and several temminck's lark. 

So if you do the same journey as us, stop at the derelict house 100 kilometres down the road from Tobruk to Jaghboub. We got ten species in very unpromising territory. See how many you find.

However the real fun was just about to begin. We arrived at Jaghboub in time to visit the desert lakes in the afternoon. The next two blogs tell you what we saw.

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