Saturday 11 December 2010

Excursion to Jakarrad

This blog is the final one in the series about my visit to Jalu Oasis and the surrounding area. I had held it back because I was unsure of a bird identification and I don't like posting any bird without its ID. 

If you have read previous blogs you'll know that Jalu and area is farming country in the middle of the desert. The farms are fed by pumps from underground aquifers. The system has been so perfected in recent years that there is more water and greenery here than in living memory.

Because of these private farms and the near-by very large government project, many birds have been attracted. Please read previous blogs about them!

Jalu area from google maps

You can see from google maps how much farming there is in Jalu and Awjila. However in Jakharrad the main industry is oil not dates or other farming.

Nevertheless since I was in the area, I thought it worth a couple of hours excursion there.

Well the vegetation was more natural and sparser. The numbers of warblers seen in Jalu were greatly less (but they were a few).

I had said I saw no stonechat in Jalu. That is true but I saw one (and only one) in Jakharrad. This was the only one in the three towns.

stonechat, Jakharrad

It was in non-breeding plumage and caused me a bit of a small identification problem. Hence the delay in this blog.

second picture of stonechat, Jakharrad

I can't reach a final conclusion from this one observation here and my observations  at Jakhboub Oasis last month.  However it does appear that wintering stonechat clearly does come inland and south from the coast but in decreasing numbers as you go further in-land. This is not earth-shattering but it does appear to be the trend.

cattle egret between Jalu and Jakharrad

Jalu is a very clean town by Libyan and even international standards. This is because families live in neighbourhoods and the cleanliness of communal areas in each neighbourhood is a family responsibility.

Nevertheless there is a town rubbish dump and its between Jalu and Jakharrad. Needless to say it attracted many cattle egret.  They are pictured above, right next to the dump. I can almost guarantee to see cattle egret in Libya either in heavily watered fields or next to dumps. If the two are together then bingo.

white wagtail, Jakharrad

Otherwise the dump only held three other species -white wagtail in huge numbers (and its virtually missing elsewhere in the area), spanish sparrow in the near-by bushes and desert grey shrike.

I'm glad I made the excursion (for the record)  but it couldn't match the common crane at the government project or the plenty of sub-alpine warbler in Jalu and Awjila!

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