Mystery birds

I posted on the Egypt discussion group today (Feb 17th) about a pipit that maybe a meadow pipit or a buff bellied pipit. I also said you can see it in the article called "spoonbills steal the show at Wadi Kaam". My statistics show that many people have come to this page instead. Its not here! please look at the article in the main blog!

Please find time to look at all the birds here. Currently there are one dark heron and one unknown pipit.

Dark heron

This heron was seen at a coastal lagoon just east of Benghazi on September 23rd 2010. There were about 15 grey heron in the same area but this bird was not interacting with them.

I visited the same lagoon twice more and the bird was there both times. The last time was on October 8th. 

dark heron on September 23rd

I had various opinions as to what the bird was. At first hybrids were the most popular suggestion as either grey heron/purple heron,  grey heron/black headed heron or even  black-headed heron/purple heron.   Everyone thought the bird was a juvenile.

dark heron, October 8th

However when I returned and photographed it a third time, it was clear that it was a stained grey heron. This view had been a minority view before the last set of photos when it became obvious to all. I also found the bird was cleaner but weaker than before. It was a race whether it would clean up before its health failed.

The identification issue captivated a small part of the birding world for a few days and my blog reached popularity levels it has never achieved since!

Here is a link to pictures of grey heron/purple hybrid

And here is a link to pictures of possible grey heron/black headed heron hybrids

You can see how close the dark heron initially looked to the hybrids.  It was a learning experience for us all and particularly me.


This bird was photographed on September 17th 2010 at a field near Juliana wetlands just south west of the centre of Benghazi. The scrubby field was only 30 metres from the sea.

The pose including outstretched neck and shape of the bird quite typical of a richard's pipit.  However the streaking is very strong. The choice here seems to be either a juvenile richard's pipit with abnormally strong streaking or a meadow pipit of unusual shape and posture. Both species have white fringes to the median coverts found on this bird. Also juvenile richard's pipits are more streaked than adult birds.

Most observers think it is an alarmed meadow pipit but this case is not completely closed.

What do you think?  contact me on