Tuesday 26 October 2010

Wadi al Hamsa - fishing birds

After a couple of hours at Wadi al Khalij we moved on to Wadi al Hamsa. Although its only about 10 kilometres further east as the raven flies, it's four times that far by road. 

an osprey in action at Wadi al Hamsa captured by Gencer Gencoglu

This wetland is similar in some ways to Wadi Al Khalij but instead of reeds there is mostly arthrocnemum next to the river. I believe this implies the water is slightly more salty.

The water was also a little bit deeper and was again teeming with fish.  

Wadi al Hamsa about 200 metres inland

We saw our third and fourth osprey of the day here. The pair dived into the water from a great height and with great speed on several occasions. It was magnificent to watch this display. Gencer managed to capture the moment one bird reached the water (see above).

osprey preparing for another dive. Picture by Gencer Gencoglu

The wadi widens out a little as you go upstream and there is more vegetation along the banks.

upstream at about 500 metres from the wadi mouth

Osprey were not the only fishing birds. There were a large number of kingfisher. Certainly it was the largest density of kingfisher I have ever seen (not just in Libya). Since the water here is permanent we may have to re-think whether Libya has any breeding kingfisher.

kingfisher resting at wadi Al Hamsa

There were at least two adult and one juvenile grey heron around too. At the side of the river we glimpsed moorhen on three occasions. This once again confirms my view that this bird is widespread in many different parts of Libya.

grey heron, Wadi Al Hamsa

The other member of the heron family we saw was little egret.

little egret, Wadi Al Hamsa

We had intended to walk upstream where the river narrows to look at the passerines. However there was a stand off between a goat herder's dogs and a pack of wild dogs which looked like it might get nasty. We decided it could be dangerous for us. This was a real shame. We had already seen willow warbler and had expected many other migrants to be around.

thekla lark, wadi Al Hamsa

The green part of the valley was not the only useful birding territory. Further inland, on the stony land on top looking down on the wadi we saw two thekla lark. This was Gencer's first encounter and fully justified a long walk on a hunch. Sometimes you get lucky. 

In the next blog I report on a different type of wetland we visited next (and last) on Friday. It was also the biggest wetland too!

Below is a list of species seen in this wadi compiled by Gencer. Once again "X" means the bird was present but we didn't count the numbers.

Tür Adı
Name of Species

Küçük ak balıkçıl
Little egret
Gri balıkçıl
Grey heron
Balık kartalı
Common kestrel
Common moorhen
Common redshank
Kaya güvercini
Rock pigeon
Tekla Toygarı
Thekla Lark
Kaya kırlangıcı
Crag martin
Willow warbler
Büyük örümcekkuşu
Great grey shrike

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