So it was wonderful to stumble on the coastal wilderness just east of Al Thama and west of Ain Azziana.
wetland just east of Al Thama
As we parked the car a moorhen nonchalantly walked pass. I could tell straight away that in this area the birds were relatively tame. To me the moorhen's behaviour immediately meant that few people come this way.
golden plover, ringed plover and dunlin
There were several groups of waders. They allowed me quite close access. There were golden plover, ringed plover, dunlin and common redshank. The latter were the only ones to bolt.
golden plover at wetland east of Al Thama
I saw at least 20 golden plover though dunlin were once again the most common wader.
dunlin at wetland east of Al Thama
There were plenty of gulls present too. The majority were slender-billed gull but some were black-headed gull. There were also two black-backed gull which is more common in Tripolitania than in the North East.
two first winter slender billed gull with a cattle egret
A small number of the black headed gull have changed into their summer plumage. Tuesday was the first time I had seen that this year.
black headed gull (left) in summer plumage
Blacked headed gull doesn't have a black head in winter and even in summer its only dark chocolate brown.
a hidden male teal
A final pleasant surprise was the sighting of a male teal in the low lying scrub. Then I looked more closely and found there were 20 of them sheltering and easily missed.
Teal is the second most common wintering duck in Libya according to the UN winter counts. Only shoveler numbers are higher. Nevertheless this was the closest encounter I have had - as once again the birds here proved tamer than elsewhere.