Saturday, 27 November 2010

An update on Jaghboub

Thanks to German ornithologist Jens Hering who has provided valuable extra information on the Jaghboub Oasis area.  I  feel we are beginning to know what's going on there quite well.  Between Jens, me and the UN winter count team (visited Lake Melfa in 2005) we know quite a bit.  Now for the rest of Libya!

Jens Hering visited the area just under 12 months ago. He managed to visit the largest lake in the area (which seems to have two names) - Lake Arashiyah (or Lake Qusaybayah). Its bigger but less accessible than the two lakes I visited.

Jens found 550! cormorant there. He has written all the details and published in Der Falke 57, Sonderheft 2010 (The Falcon ,special edition) in German.The article is called "Ein Überwinterungsplatz in der Sahara: Kormorane in der Wüste"

My German is hopeless but google translator has helped me.

One of my readers had questioned me how the cormorant I saw at the unnamed lake south of Lake Melfa had been eating. According to Jens paper (if my translation is correct) , the lake had six species Meditterranean fish introduced some years ago and they have prospered. The site now seems ideal for those wintering species which eat sea fish.

picture taken from Jens Hering paper

Jens also reported 12 flamingo so he beat me to the observation of these birds in the area even though it wasn't the same lake!

Please read Jens paper for more details and pictures of the Lake.

NASA photograph of the area

I have taken the NASA photograph of the area and drawn an approximate country border between Libya and Egypt.

Lake Melfa is the northern most lake on the map.Lake Arashiyah is the largest. You can see there are others. The unnamed lake I visited  which is south west of Lake Melfa hardly shows on the map. The lake north west of Lake Arashiyah looks exciting too.

Although lake Melfa is further away from Egypt than the west side of Lake Arashiyah, the east side is actually just inside Egypt so access for bird watching is necessarily for short time and restricted.  

I know many places in the world where borders have produced great bird life because there is a lack of disturbance. This looks like another one of them.

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