Saturday 5 June 2010

Last day in Tripoli

Icterine warbler - Seraj - May 22nd

May 22nd was my last day in Tripoli before my move to Benghazi. I decided to take a short birding walk along the new railway line which is under development. I walked from Janzour towards Seraj. There is no doubt the line will be built soon as work has progressed quickly recently.

I had time to think about the highs and lows of my 8 months in Tripolitania. The highs were several:
  • seeing two moussiers redstart in two places many kilometres apart in the winter
  • discovering that whinchat, nightingale and spotted flycatcher are very numerous passage birds
  • finding an occupied white stork's nest
  • understanding the distribution of the various wheatears
  • furthermore plotting distribution maps of 80 or so other species
  • seeing many other passage birds and getting photographs such as great reed warbler, wood warbler, sub alpine warbler, pied flycatcher, collared flycatcher, willow warbler and on May 22 I got a photo of an icterine warbler while making my last walk as Tripoli resident for at least a year. This warbler is one of last passage migrants through Libya
  • understanding the distribution and types of desert grey and iberian shrikes in north west Libya
  • observing that greenfinches are more numerous and more widespread in winter than any maps show
  • noting that both cattle egret and hoopoe are quite common residents and not none existent as some maps show! Indeed many birds are under-reported
  • seeing cream coloured courser on several ocassions
  • likewise seeing and understanding the distribution of bar tailed lark, desert lark, temmincks lark and trumpter finch
  • learning to separate thekla and crested lark
  • observing a mass eleanora falcon migration through Tripoli
  • eating breakfast to the sound of serins most mornings
  • observing a rufous bush robin just before I left
  • the list goes on.....

My only regrets are not seeing duponts lark, houbara bustard. I spent a lot of time looking for duponts lark but it evaded me.

cattle egrets in Janzour - may 22

Its ironic that on my last day I saw cattle egret even closer to my home than ever before- in Janzour cemetery.

The usual suspects were all around - hoopoe, stone curlew, crested lark and spanish sparrow. A few passage yellow wagtail and whinchat were lingering.

One of the last birds I saw was fulvous babbler. I won't see this near Benghazi! but I am exciting about the chance to see another underreported part of the country.

fulvous babbler - Janzour - may 22

Farewell fulvous babbler, hello african blue tit.

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