Wednesday 6 October 2010

Migrants at Ras Al Hilal

Ras Al Hilal, early October

Ras Al Hilal is an up market resort, 140 kilometres east of Benghazi. It was my final destination for an expensive night's sleep last Friday. That said it is a beautiful area and I think the money was well worth it.

I was lucky enough to see both migrants and local birds as I had hoped. This blog is all about the migrants and the next is all about the local birds.

Towards sunset, as I sat in the restaurant area with my friend Wendy and my driver Abdullah, a flock of about 60 little egret appeared from the east.

Little egret flying right, Ras Al Hilal, early October

I am pretty confident they were looking for a roost. They flew round and round in circles for 20 minutes. As Wendy said they should "sack" ("fire" in American English) the lead bird!

Once again little egret do not appear on the Collins distribution map for Cyrenaica but does for north west Libya (Tripolitania). And yet I have seen ten times more little egret here than there last October in Tripolitania.

Little egret flying left, Ras Al Hilal, early October

Little egret are very common at the moment all down the north eastern coast. I saw some more the next day at the ancient Greek site site of Apollonia and have been seeing them almost every visit to the coast for the past two weeks.

Red backed shrike, Ras Al Hilal, early October

Clearly armchair birding suits me because the next morning (Saturday) we were having breakfast at the same restaurant (its the only restaurant) when I saw a red backed shrike in a palm tree just 10 metres away. I also had a silly 5 minutes chasing an unidentified phylloscopus warbler around the restaurant's bushes. 

whinchat, Ras Al Hilal

Another bird I saw within the grounds of the resort was a whinchat. Sorry about the photo quality. Its a small bird and was not amenable to close contact. I had seen very many whinchat migrating north in spring while living in Tripoli. This was the first one seen migrating south in north east Libya. I can only believe they are common frequent here.  This is another bird missing from the distribution maps for Libya!

Marsh Harrier on coast west of Ras Al Hilal

Prehaps this one should have gone in my previous blog on birds of prey but on our way home around saturday lunchtime we saw yet another marsh harrier this time right on the coast. It was between Soussa (another resort) and Ras Al Hilal which is 80 kilometres east of my sighting the day before at Deryanah. Methinks this bird is quite common - at least in October.  

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