Sunday, 28 November 2010

Wadi Dana - the valley

As promised, for the next two postings I am returning to reporting on my Eid break in Jordan. Read last week's posts if the place looks tempting for a break. There are details on how to travel there from Libya and where to stay. 

This post looks at the birds in the wadi itself other than wheatears and redstarts which got blogs all to themselves.

looking down wadi dana

It's a 15 kilometre trek from the village to the bottom of the wadi. You can do it and the hotels will arrange a pick up. I actually walked 6 kilometres down and then 6 kilometres back up. I reckon that's harder work than a 15 kilometre trek downhill. I am a whole lot fitter as a consequence.

desert lark, wadi dana

I met some old friends on the way - notably desert lark. Take a look at this bird and compare it with the mast head of this blog. Indeed desert lark was the only type of lark I saw. In other words I didn't see crested lark. This must be a first for my birding travels in recent years.

scrub warbler, wadi dana

The density of scrub warbler is much higher than anywhere I have seen in Libya. However they seem to be much more nervous in Jordan hence the poor photo because I couldn't get close to what is a very small bird.

kestrel, wadi dana

Apparently Wadi Dana is a great place to watch the spring and autumn raptor migrations. There is also a walk called "griffon vulture walk" which I would have taken if I had had an extra day. However I saw none of these birds. I had to make do with seeing three or four kestrel in different places. I could have hoped to have seen bonelli's eagle as well but my regular looks at the sky gave me only rock martin.  There were many of these but for me they were impossible to photograph.

chukar, wadi dana

One of the most common birds and certainly the noisiest was chukar.  There is a flock of 30 or so near the village and you keep seeing them all day on the walk. Clearly when they are not being shot and eaten, they breed well. Obviously the protection in this national park is working because they were highly numerous.  I remember how excited I used to get when I saw one in Azerbasijan. There they were elusive and confined to the hills.

blue rock thrush, wadi dana

The final bird I am featuring today is the blue rock thrush. its resident here and quite easy to see if you stare at the cliff faces long enough. We have them in Libya in winter but as yet I havent seen any in the summer months. The best bet would be the Wadi al Kouf area in Jebel Akhdar but that's just speculation which I can't check for a few months.

Tomorrow is the last article about Wadi Dana and Jordan. I will write about bulbuls and babblers. Then we will return to Libya.

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