Monday 10 January 2011

Lapwings aren't rare!

Northern lapwing is another bird that the guide books say don't come to Libya. However I saw one at Wadi Zaret (south west of Tripoli) last February and five at Wadi al Bab (south east of Benghazi) in late November.

Even then I thought that it might be a rare bird and that I may have been lucky.  

The annual UN winter bird count at wetlands usually picks up a few too.

None of this information prepared me for my sighting at Old Marj last Friday. At the wetland complex there I counted a flock of precisely 100 (one hundred) birds. 

part of the northern lapwing flock at Old Marj last Friday

In retrospect the meadows next to the water complex at Old Marj are ideal territory for northern lapwing.  Wet, non-saline meadows are not common in Libya but if you find them there appears to be good odds you will see northern lapwing

meadows favoured by northern lapwing at Old Marj

My new view is that the bird is not rare once you seek out the habitat it likes. 

another picture showing more of the flock of northern lapwing

I found it very difficult to get close to the lapwing because the meadows were very soggy and there was no absolutely no cover. I couldn't get anywhere near them without them seeing me a long way off!

long distance shot of northern lapwing

The picture above shows two northern lapwing in a field with one flying overhead. They were 100 metres from me. The picture is what is often called a "record shot"

close up of a northern lapwing

I had one other attempt at a photograph of a bird on the ground which is shown above.

However I have got a sneaking feeling I will get many more chances for better shots in the future. After all this bird is not rare in Libya in winter.

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