Sunday, 21 November 2010

Wintering birds in Jaghboub Oasis

This is the last blog in the series about a field trip to Jaghboub Oasis. The final piece in the jigsaw is to tell you about the wintering birds we saw in the settlement and near-by date plantations during a walkabout on the morning we left.

I cannot pretend it was a full blown ornithological survey but I hope to give you a feel.

bluethroat, date plantation, Jaghboub

The most obvious wintering bird is white wagtail. The place is teeming with them both in the settlement and the plantations.

Italian fort, Jaghboub

Near the Italian fort it is very easy to spot them. They were so numerous that some of them occupied less usual positions such as on a telegraph wire (see below).

white wagtail, Jaghboub settlement

Like at Lake Melfa there were also numerous chiffchaff but no sign of willow warbler.

chiffchaff, Jaghboub settlement

I was surprised that we didn't see or hear any sardinian warbler I had thought would be the second strongest candidate warbler sighting.  However our access was restricted to public places and where plantation workers allowed us in.

We did see two stonechat and one black redstart. These are both common wintering birds near the coast too.

date plantation. Photo by Mariol Flegson

One taste of what there might be in terms of other wintering birds came at very end of our walk. We were peaking into one small date plantation and I saw a first year bluethroat next to one of the smaller water channels. The plantation workers were bemused at my interest but happy for me to stay.   

The bluethroat there must win the prize for the tamest bluethroat in Libya. It jumped on a palm stump barely a metre from me and allowed me easy photography. One of the photos is at the top of the blog. 

It was a fitting moment at the very end of a very enjoyable and exciting visit.

I am pretty sure the settlement must be even more exciting during the passage.  I hope other birdwatchers will come to Libya and find out.

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