Friday 3 December 2010

How much birding at Jalu Oasis?

At the moment I'm in the middle of a field trip to Jalu and Awjila. As far as I know very little birding has taken place before at these two oasis towns.

I'm told they don't have any surface lakes any more but because of pumping systems they have very large date plantations. Some of these have water channels which of course attract birds.

Who knows what I will see? Will there be more than wintering chiffchaff and resident white crowned wheatear?  I suspect so and I will blog my report over the next few days - hopefully starting tomorrow.

old mosque at Awjila

There is a triangle of three small towns - Jalu , Awjila and Qakharrah. I hope to visit them all but concentrating on Jalu. They are slightly further south than Jaghboub (see map below where Jaghboub is highlights as a red dot). Actually this will be the furthest south I have been in Libya so far. Let's hope it brings some interesting birds.

map of the area

Awjila is a mostly berber village which speaks its own language and has its own culture. It also has an extremely old and interesting mosque. See the picture above. I have found only two references to birds in this area. One  concerns Awjila. Last year a tagged red-footed falcon from Hungary migrated south over the town in the autumn. It didn't land!

The second concerns Jalu. From memory Jens Hering reported a white stork nest which has been occupied for about two years.  I think I know what's going on with that but we will have to wait until my report to find out.

Jalu is the centre of the date industry for the area and arguably for the whole of Libya. I'll be staying with a student of mine -Amer and I'm grateful to him for his hospitality.

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