Thursday 28 October 2010

Thursday afternoon at Juliana

I had a couple of hours to spare this afternoon so I popped in a taxi to Juliana again. I am really pleased I did. Another wave of migrants and wintering birds have arrived in the two weeks since I lasted visited.

Like two weeks ago, coot, black-winged stilt and barn swallow were still the most obvious birds. Indeed Juliana is one of those places in Libya where the barn swallow stays all winter.

But it was the less obvious birds which excited me. I have never seen three common snipe in one place before but I did today. Not only that but I didn't disturb any of them and I managed to photograph all three. What's more the last one just gently walked away!  

I don't know what I did right today.  The clothes were the same, the equipment was the same and I am still as impatient as ever. Strange?

common snipe, Juliana

Common snipe are a known wintering  and passage bird in Libya. Who knows whether these three will stay or move on.

common snipe walking off, Juliana

Above is a picture of the same common snipe walking away. it gives us all a good opportunity to see its pale crown stripe which helps identify the bird (apart from its hugely long bill that is!)

avocet, Juliana

While the black winged stilt were present again, it was one of their cousins which caught my eye. Collins guide only shows this bird in the far west of Libya on the border with Tunisia over 1200 kilometres away. I was extremely surprised to see it. In any normal blog it would have been my first picture but the common snipe won the call.

spotted redshank, Juliana

Another new bird at the wetland was spotted redshank. Indeed they outnumbered common redshank today. They are down as a passage bird in the guides but I will keep an eye out for them all winter because some winter in the Nile delta and I don't see why they shouldn't stay here. The temperatures are very similar.

common greenshank

There were plenty of dunlin around too, a few ringed plover and a couple of common greenshank. I dint see any other waders but that's because its getting increasingly difficult to walk round the wetland as the water level is rising. 

The heron family was represented by little egret and grey heron.

One land bird stood out this time. There was a very large flock of skylark roaming the area. And talking of roaming I once again saw a marsh harrier.

I have one more thing I must mention. On my way back home from the wetland I saw an enormous flock of starling which must have been several thousand strong. I guess this means there has been a cold spell in Eastern Europe.

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