Sunday, April 25, 2004

Yesterday I took a long walk around base. The weather was hot and I didn't leave until after lunch time. For the first half hour I saw the usual suspects around. Collared Doves, a couple remaining wood pigeons, numerous house sparrows, and the odd hooded crow. Around one of the water towers, there was a flock of rock doves.

Along one of the sidestreets near the airstrip I found a pair of old world warblers hopping around in some large trees. One of them was an Icterine warbler the other was some other non-descript type of Hippolais species, possibly an olivaceous warbler.

While I was thumbing through my field guide, a lady came up to me and introduced herself as a fellow birder. She's working here on base as a DoD civilian I think. We chatted a bit about what we've seen here and I gave her my name and building number. She said a white-cheeked bulbul sings outside her window every morning.

At the pond behind the laundry, the water was higher than I'd seen before. 2 purple gallinules, a few moorhens and a coot were walking around out of the water eating plants. A couple spur-winged plovers were flying around and a squacco heron flew over me.

I had two new birds. Out in the pond five white-winged terns were cruising around the reeds. Some landed on the emergent vegetation in the middle of the pond. These birds breed in his area, so the terns might be here to stay. The other new bird was a spectacular white-breasted or Smyrna Kingfisher. It was very obliging, perching on the reeds in front of me. It had a big red stork-like bill, a reddish brown head and blue wings, back and tail.

I think I walked around 4 or 5 miles. I had all my gear on and I was completely soaked with sweat when I got back.

Another thing I've been observing is the migrating painted lady butterflies. Both yesterday and today there have been huge numbers of these butterflies all over the base. I saw one tree today that had several hundred butterflies feeding on eucalyptus flowers. From what I read, the painted lady is the most widespread butterfly species in the world, we have them in the US and they are also found in Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Here's a website about their migration. Sometimes heavy rains trigger these migrations.

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