Monday, 3 May 2010

THREE-BANDED PLOVERS continue to increase in numbers in EGYPT but no sign of Goliath Herons - latest sightings from a Swedish tour

Just back from a 10 day trip through the WP hotspots of Egypt. With me were 15 birders from the swedish bird tour operator AviFauna. Things went mainly according to plan and we found most expected species, although the traditional Egyptian hassles like permissions, check points, notorious police officers and frustrating bureaucracy tries hard to put obstacles in your way. Don´t go here without some serious reserach and preparations, or go with a group like this. Things might be slightly better nowadays but it still provides head ache in some areas. A trip summary in English with photographs is being prepared but I can let you in on some highlights: -

the fish ponds at Abu Hamad: the expected species like Painted Snipe, Purple Swamphen and a small colony of Streaked Weaver. Plenty of Bl-ch Bee-eaters and Cl. Reed Warblers. The area seems to be under constant development and threatens the habitat of some species. Has anyone seen Kittlitz Plover or Senegal Coucal here recently? -

amazing raptor migration at Ain Sukhna (based at "Fowzy´s" near Ain Sukhna rest house) with some 1300 raptors of 17(!) species including 4 Eastern Imperial Eagles, 5 Eleonora´s Falcons and a good variety of other eagles, Egyptian Vultures, Levant Sparrowhawks and more. -

2 Terek Sandpipers, White-cheeked and Crested Terns, Greater Sand Plover and other waders at El Gouna -

3 Crab Plovers, 5 Sooty Falcons and 2 Brown Boobies during a 4hr boat trip to the Qulaan Islands off Hamata. We didn´t find the Goliath Heron(s) at Wadi Lahmi despite extensive search. The manager of the dive resort indicated that they might have left the area, possibly disturbed by nearby hotel developments. -

15 Lappet-faced Vultures in 40C scorching heat at Shalatein. See video clip at -

the Shams Alam garden with all its migrants, Namaqua Dove, Sooty Falcon overhead, an Upcher´s Warbler (see ) just south of the hotel and a close encounter with the Hume´s Owl in Wadi Gemal one evening. The Collared Doves seems common now and might have forced out their African relatives. Any recent data on this? -

2 days in Abu Simbel (including a 4hr boat trip) with 20 Pink-backed Pelicans, 16 Yellow-billed Storks, 4 Kittlitz Plover (territorial on an island), many African Pied Wagtails. No skimmers, any records from here lately? -

at least 4, possibly 5, Three-banded Plovers at the fish ponds south of Aswan including a pair with a young bird, possibly born last year or very early this year. Anyone knows their breeding details? See video clip at and of the young bird at

My appreciation to the local expertise and kind help of the Wadi Gemal rangers, the Qulaan staff in Hamata, Khaled and Amr of the EEAA in Aswan and our local Nubian host for the boat trip in Abu Simbel. (Tomas Haroldson)

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