Sunday, August 15, 2004

I'm back in Iraq. I got out for a little while on Saturday and visited the usual places. One of the ponds had over 100 white-winged black terns all either happily feeding over the water or roosting on some little islands in the middle. No migrant shorebirds were seen but I did see the resident black-winged stilts as well as half a dozen Little Egrets. At one of the other ponds I saw a Turtle Dove, the first one I've seen in Iraq. It should be a common breeder in Central Iraq but I have a feeling there are a few common birds that I'm missing because of my limited mobility.

The Syrian Mesquite plants that were just green feathery sprouts in March are now one to two foot bushes with fat orange pods all over the top of them. In the spring I saw some old blackened pods and thought they were insect galls. I found out this is an invasive species on the federal government's watch list.

At one of the ponds I startled a Golden Jackal that was drinking at pipe draining into the sulfur smelling water. I was only about 20 feet away when it saw me. It ran about 50 feet and stopped, turning to get a good look at me. It was the first Jackal I have seen in the middle of the day.

8/14/2004 1500-1700

Little Grebe - 2
Cattle Egret - 5
Little Egret - 6
Moorhen - 3
Black-winged Stilt - 4
Spur-winged Plover - 1
White-winged Black Tern - Approx 100
Rock Dove - 200
Wood Pigeon - 5
Collared Dove - 4
Turtle Dove - 1
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater - 3
Crested Lark - 1
Barn Swallow - 4
White-cheeked Bulbul - 1
Magpie - 1
Hooded Crow - 1
House Sparrow - 10

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