This morning I spent an hour watching the lunar eclipse. We were fortunate in Iraq to see totality around 5:23AM when it was still dark. The moon turned a dark reddish orange which was better seen without my binoculars, which have a lens coating that block some red light. The eclipsed moon faded into the brightening morning sky while still a few degrees above the horizon.
The rooks have officially arrived in numbers. These very social crows will be spending the winter. At dawn for the past two mornings, great scraggly flocks of rooks mixed with a few jackdaws pour over our base moving from their roosts to the freshly plowed fields. Around noon I saw a huge kettle of several hundred Rooks circling upward in a thermal. For a few minutes it was a perfect cylinder of circling black birds 50 feet wide and a couple hundred feet high. A rook tornado.
I saw another butterfly that escaped my identification. I thought it would be easy because it was so distinctive, a large black and lime green spotted one. In the fleeting moment I saw it, it reminded me of Graphium agamemnon which I collected in New Guinea 14 years ago. I may still ID it, but I've been through the butterfly lists of Iraq, Iran and Turkey to no avail. Too bad I don't have a good field guide for butterflies. My method is to go through the list one by one in the appropriate families and type the Latin name into Google image search.