I've had a few opportunities to drive around the base in the last week.
The ponds remain the focal points of activity. The laundry pond is always good for a few things. Last time I was there a purple swamp hen flew from one side of the pond to another, its bright red legs dangling loosely underneath it. There was also a little grebe poking around in the reeds. A few White-winged terns are sticking around, but I haven't seen any evidence of nesting. The standby moorhen can usually be found patroling the bank and I often see the smyrna kingfisher.
A couple days ago I saw a spotted flycatcher hawking for bugs in one of the tamarisk trees behind our building. It's the first new bird I've seen in a few weeks.
A few notable birds I've seen flying over are a lesser kestrel and some unidentified swifts (probably Common Swifts).
Tomorrow I'm going to take some pictures of the plants that have sprung up recently. A few species just pop out of the baked ground and become large plants in a matter of a week or two. There's really a good variety around here. Many are thorny or semi-succulent. It's a good idea to have some water conservation strategy if you plant to bake in the Iraqi sun.
I spent some time catching insects under the street lights. I found a small brown tiger beetle, some large earwigs, small brown grasshoppers, and large numbers of small black tenebrionid beetles.
I showed some of our local workers the insects and other arthropods I've collected. They were impressed by the camel spider and promised to bring me some critters tomorrow. I told them not to bring me any snakes since they would probably chop it up first.