I had a mission out in the western desert in the Marine's area. I flew out over Lake Tharthar. I was hoping to see large numbers of waterfowl, maybe even pelicans. I only managed to see a few ducks and some grey herons. The lake is huge, the largest of 3 large saline depressions turned into floodwater control reservoirs in central Iraq. Its about 60 miles long and 20 miles across. Apparently large numbers of ducks, coots and other waterbirds winter at the lake. Other birds like Common Crane, Great Cormorant and Sandgrouse also winter in the area. As late as 1989 Houbara Bustards were still breeding in the land around the lake.
Most of the land I flew over was dry rocky desert with small plateaus and wadis.
At my mission location I saw a few birds mostly near the small islands of vegetation near former Iraqi military buildings. One building was surrounded by tall tamarisk and Eucalyptus trees. Growing next to the building were several pomagranate trees and an large olive trees. The greenery attracted white-cheeked bulbuls, an orphean warbler, a willow warbler and a large flock of house sparrows. Behind the building, along a gravel road I found half a dozen crested larks running around and calling accompanied by 3 white wagtails. In a pile of brush two Magpies were resting. In the surounding area I saw a northern wheatear as well as a Black Redstart.
On the high walls of the wadi I observed a black kite cruising along. I also saw a small dark streaked falcon which may have been a Hobby.
We got some steady rain early in the morning. On my flight back I saw the wet sand where some of the small washes had flowing water hours before.