Friday, 19 November 2010

Small lake, Jaghboub Oasis

As I trailed yesterday, last Saturday afternoon, we moved on from Lake Melfa to an adjacent smaller lake which is inaccessible by car but I had seen from the road. It is surrounded by higher vegetation than Lake Melfa - mostly reeds. 

I believe this lake may not have been birded before. It's not clear in the 2005 UN wetland census whether they only visited the larger lake Melfa or not. 

We made the strenuous effort because I had glimpsed a few very large birds from the road as we sped past on our way towards Lake Melfa.

We made the difficult journey on foot to the water's edge. My shoes and trousers suffered the wet and muddy consequences. I am sure our local (non-birding) guide, Idris thought we were mad. He stayed in the car a kilometre away on the road!

The reward was the sight of five flamingo and four cormorant.

flamingo at unnamed lake near Lake Melfa, Jaghboub

To use slang English, I was gobsmacked.  I know the UN census has found crane and cormorant at inland oases but as far as I know they haven't found flamingo. I am sure Abdulmaula Hamsa (of the Libyan EGA) will correct me if I am wrong.

close up of one flamingo, unnamed lake

This lake is 250 kilometres inland as the brown-necked raven flies. It is also less than 4 kilometres from the Egyptian border. It would be good to know if the Egyptians have ever seen flamingo at Siwa. I am pretty sure these birds will not take any notice of the border.

cormorant at unnamed lake near Lake Melfa, Jaghboub

It was a pity it was getting dark because I would have liked to have walked all round the lake but in twilight it would have been dangerous as you can sink into the earth if you choose the wrong footing. However the mad trek was well- worth the effort.

Over the next two days I'll tell you what resident and wintering birds we saw in the Oasis town and its date plantations. I can find no previous records for the town. What we saw had real surprises in terms of the number and type of species seen.   

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