Thursday, 4 November 2010

short-eared owl in Cyrenaica!

As far as I know short-eared owl has been reported only once in Cyrenaica (north east Libya) until today.

I saw one while birding along the coast near Garyounis, Benghazi a few hours ago.  It gave me quite a surprise I can tell you. I was looking for shore birds not owls!

I have just rushed home to blog what I saw and photographed. But despite my enthusiasm I made time to use my data base on Libyan birds.

short-eared owl close to beach north of Garyounis, Benghazi

The UN winter wetlands count found a short-eared owl at a sebkhet (saltmarsh) near Shahat in January 2005. I don't know of any other recent records in north east Libya.

There are a few more records in Tripolitania (north west Libya). I saw one myself at Sabratha about 12 months ago. And in the Fezzan, excellent work by Jens Hering and his colleagues (see my tab page on Libyan research) found several birds in south west Libya in late March.

the same short-eared owl

My guess is that short-eared owl will eventually be found to be at least as common in winter in Cyrenaica as in Tripolitania. Its probably under-reporting at work again. 

One thing is for certain, the guide books will finally acknowledge short-eared owl is here.

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