Thursday 21 October 2010

The walk home

In Benghazi, even walking home from work can provide good birding if you carry a pair of binoculars (a camera is optional). This blog is about what I have seen while doing just that over the past two evenings.

I got very excited on Tuesday night at dusk just as I was about to step into my house. I saw two raptors which I thought might be Eleanora's falcon flying all around the neighbourhood. In much better light I had seen plenty of this bird migrating through Tripoli in May.

kestrel over my house, Benghazi

Thanks to Steve Istvan and Szilard Daroczi who helped me with the identification.  Now I  know they were only common kestrel. Nevertheless I am still pleased with the photograph.

My raptor identification is still poor and I often seek help. Though I am getting better all the time with practice.

silhouette of kestrel, Benghazi

I had thought the birds were very long winged like Eleanora's (see the silhouette of one of my birds above). The feature which convinced me that the bird was not an Eleanora's was not the wing shape (it looks a bit rounded in the first picture) but the lack of a trailing black edge to the wing.

What attention to detail is required!  Sometimes I wonder why I started this hobby if it is this difficult. But that's just it. It's difficult but it's possible and that's what makes it fun.

Moving forward 24 hours to last night, we finished work a bit early as a result of the exams timetable. I took my chance to visit the Al Bosco park on a semi-detour on the way home.

The park is still teeming with willow warbler and has quite a few common redstart. These migrant birds must be moving on soon. There are signs that another migrant- spotted flycatcher have finally started moving on. 

willow warbler taking a bath in Al Bosco park, Benghazi

The willow warbler above was taking a prolonged bath when I caught up with it. To be honest I thought it looked dirtier when it finished bathing.

cattle egret going for a walk in Al Bosco park, Benghazi

it was very pleasant to see a group of cattle egret going for an evening walk. 

laughing dove, Al Bosco park, Benghazi

Finally having failed to photograph another European robin, I rounded on a laughing dove. Its far easier to snap and there are more of them. There are so many around I sometimes forget that some foreign readers of the blog find them a bit exotic!

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