Sunday 30 January 2011

A dartford warbler in Libya

On Friday I visited the slopes of the Jebel Nafusa north and below of Yefren. Yesterday I reported seeing five Moussier's redstart in the area. But that was not the most exciting finding!

trumpeter finch at Yefren reservoir

Even the very large flock of  confiding trumpeter finch seen at Yefren reservoir and the smaller numbers seen at Ain Tamdit (further up the hill side at 400 metres) couldn't steal the show.

close up of trumpeter finch 

The prize sighting was two dartford warbler at Ain Tamdit.  As far as I know this bird has never been recorded in Libya before. 

dartford warbler at Ain Tamdit

However like the distribution map for Moussier's redstart it is shown in guide books in central Tunisia but not in Libya in winter. Like Moussier's redstart I am not surprised to see it here since Libya is so under-reported.

I saw the related Marmora's warbler at Farwa in February last year. Both Marmora's and dartford warbler's look very dark in most light. However the birds at Ain Tamdit had dull wine red undersides which you may just be able to make out in my nervous picture.

Although I noticed it first, all credit to Andy who identified it before I did.

fulvous babbler near Yefren reservoir

Under normal circumstances fulvous babbler might be the top sighting of the day especially with those new to north west Africa. I was glad to re-new their acquaintance as they are not found in north east Libya where most of my birding is now done. 

A good view of a thelka lark (see below) has also been relegated to a low billing too! Notice its shorter bill compared with most crested lark.

thelka lark on the slopes of Jebel Nafusa

Finally here is a tribute to the team on Friday. Irabhim, Andy, Helen, Diane and I proved that five sets of eyes are better than one.

Andy, Helen and Diane at Ain Tamdit

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