Saturday 8 January 2011

Marj is moorhen central

For many months it's been apparent to me that moorhen is a widespread bird in Libya. This is despite top selling guide books showing it as present only in some oasis towns and missing from the north.

However, I've see it at Deryanah, Garyounis, Derna, Temimi and Old Marj in the north east and Ain Kaam in the north west.

Until yesterday I had one poor quality photograph from Garyouins taken a few months ago. This is because the birds have been shy and very close to cover (and I've been too slow!).

some moorhen at Old Marj 

I am grateful to Jens Hering who told me about a better birding spot at Marj than I have been to in the past. I visited his suggestion yesterday. The area was teeming with moorhen!

landscape picture of water at Old Marj

The area is near the cemetery and the stork nests (more on stork in a later blog).

yet more moorhen at Old Marj

I have little doubt this is the place with the most moorhen in Libya. Its difficult to assess their numbers because they were close to thick reed cover but conservatively there are at least 150. They were quite tame too so even I had no difficulty taking photographs for the record.

coot at Old Marj

There were also lesser numbers of coot present.

By the way, the site was so good that I have produced six blogs about what I saw. This is the most ever for one days birding. I have some very exciting things to say about the place over the next week. Much of what I will report once again shows that Libya is hugely under-reported.

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