Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Wadi Dana - the Village birds

On my Eid stay at Wadi Dana, Jordan I found that you don't even have to  leave the village to find some good birds. They are in the village, its orchards and near-by countryside.

roof top view of part of Dana village

At my hotel I met two French bird watchers and tour organisers called Yves Zabardi and Christine Barteï. They run a company called Rando Oiseaux. Its web address is   I recommend you visit this site and consider booking on their trip to Jordan next year. They had thoroughly researched a Jordanian tour when I met them. The trip will include significant parts of Wadi Dana. 

Yves and Christine had been surprised I hadn't seen Tristram's starling even though I had only arrived in the village in mid afternoon the day before.

Sure enough the next morning I saw plenty of them within the village.  They seem to like being near human settlements.

Tristram's starling, Dana Village

Laughing dove was present. This is a bird I know very well from both Libya and Azerbaijan but its sometimes difficult to remember that the bird is quite exotic to some western and northern European bird watchers. 

laughing dove, Dana Village

female stonechat near Dana Village

There were also plenty of stonechat around. They are nearly as common in winter here as in Libya but not quite. However, they couldn't be more common anywhere but Libya at the moment!

very young house sparrow, Dana village

It was the finch family which caused me the most angst in the village. First there was a very shy and mobile flock of wintering chaffinch which I failed to photograph. This was followed by glimpses of syrian serin. Although it was a  "lifer" and gave me some joy I would have loved to have pictured too.

second view of very young house sparrow, Dana village

However the biggest angst was caused by my attempts at identifying a sparrow!  Believe it or not I found it difficult to identify the above bird as a very young house sparrow. For a short while I had considered it just might be a female dead-sea sparrow. I have never seen a dead sea sparrow so I was using my Collins guide (which doesn't have a picture of young house sparrow) and then Google images. Both birds are much cleaner and brighter than a female house sparrow.

I soon decided I was kidding myself. So young juvenile house sparrow it is!

I don't have these problems in Libya. That reminds me, I'll be returning to Libyan birds (this is a primarily a Libyan blog after all) until early next week when I'll finish my last two blogs on Wadi Dana

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