Reeds are one of nature's amazing ways of cleaning water so after the reed bed it continues to flow down hill and it is much cleaner (or less eutrophic as scientists say). It collects in a lake and marsh land at the lowest point locally.
The shear variety of terrain encourages a variety in the types types of wader.
I reported in an earlier blog how the wet meadows near the clear lake attract northern lapwing. Well on the same day (last Friday) that I saw them I also saw 40 or 50 black-winged stilt in the deeper parts of the "lake". This is a breeding bird in Libya but I can't tell you whether these were local birds or wintering birds from Europe.
black winged stilt at Old Marj "lake"
As I said in the blog about northern lapwing it is impossible to sneak up on the waders at the lake because there is no cover and you are wading yourself through marsh land. So all the photos of this area are from a distance.
blown up picture of lake with black winged stilt
If you look carefully at the above picture you might see that some of the flying birds are northern lapwing.
However the wader present in the largest numbers by far was dunlin. I estimate there were over 400. I now wonder whether the annual UN wetlands survey underestimates the number of winter water birds in Libya simply because it doesn't look at many "informal" sites like this. There is nothing elegant about birding a (partially) treated waste water outlet but the birding is fantastic!
huge flock of dunlin at Old Marj
In some of the smaller pools within the marsh land there are other waders too - notably sandpipers. The main sandpiper in the cleaner areas beyond the reeds is wood sandpiper. (I have blogged before about the frequency of wood sandpiper as a wintering bird).
two dunlin and a flying wood sandpiper
The marsh land itself houses some wood sandpiper and green sandpiper but the most abundant bird I found was common snipe. I had been warned by German ornithologist Jens Hering that I might even see hundreds and I can confirm they were present in very large numbers.
marsh land between reeds and main lake
Common snipe was also present near the more eutrophic water before the reed beds but not in such great numbers. However they were easier to photograph there simply because there is cover for the bird watcher.
common snipe at Old Marj
As usual green sandpiper were found near the dirtier water in places wood sandpiper wouldn't go.
moorhen and green sandpiper
I wonder what waders I'll see here during the passage?