Tuesday 1 February 2011

Water birds at Wadi Kaam reservoir

The reservoir at Wadi Kaam (comparable with Wadi Ghan) has the largest fresh water surface area in the country (though Omar Mukhtar reservoir at Saluq in Cyreniaca holds more water).

Much of the lake is inaccessible which is good news for the birds.

When I visited it on Saturday, several water species could be seen near the dam which is the most accessible part. 

shoveler and coot

Tripolitania is relatively better reported than Cyreniaca so all but one of the species I saw at Wadi Kaam reservoir is on the distribution maps of the best selling guide.  The exception is common coot.  I have seen it at several places in Cyrenaica this winter and now at Wadi Kaam yet it is missing from Libya cording to the distribution map. It's difficult to understand how it has been missed.

Shoveler is the most common wintering duck across the northern coast of Libya from west to east. Its numbers in the UN wetland winter counts usually far exceed those of other ducks. It was the only duck seen on this particular visit to Wadi Kaam (check previous blogs for other ducks!)

view of Wadi Kaam reservoir

The only grebe seen this time was black necked grebe another numerous visitor especially to the north west coastal areas (but also in the north east).

black necked grebe at Wadi Kaam reservoir

The most abundant water bird on Saturday was little egret. There was a very large flock resting on an island in the middle of the reservoir.

little egret at Wadi Kaam reservoir

There were also a small number of grey heron (see below) and cormorant (not pictured).

grey heron 

There was also at least one whiskered tern and one solitary common redshank who made more noise than all the egrets!

one common redshank

Tomorrow we are looking at the birds of Ain Kaam - the longest permanent "river" in north west Libya albeit less than two kilometres long.

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