Saturday, January 01, 2005

I came back from a mission down south near Nasiriyah a few days ago. The land around the base was rocky desert, much different from the fertile river valley around my home base. I was able to visit the ruins of the ancient Sumerian city of Ur. I have some photos on my other blog.

The base has a running track around a couple acre pond. I spent some time walking the perimeter of the track looking for birds. Several large desert bushes had started to flower with pretty small pink flowers. There were also some fine tamarisk trees growing near the pond.

Flowering Bush

Tamarisk Tree

I saw a nice male Black Redstart of the semirufus race.

I spent ten minutes watching a trio of Pied Kingfishers hunting for fish. One caught a fat six inch fish and spent a couple minutes beating the fish against a no-swimming sign trying to get it to stop struggling. It then gingerly flipped the fish around and swallowed it head first.

The White Wagtails and Crested Larks were everywhere on base the Crested Larks running around in the parking lots and the wagtails preferring the edge of the pond.

At the pond I found a male Snowy (Kentish) Plover. I've seen this species in the US and this bird looked much different with a rufous cap. It has to be a distinct subspecies.

Around the Ziggurat of Ur I saw a large Eagle (Aquila species) and a Pied Wheatear . The pied wheatear perched on a telephone line and would fly down to the ground to catch something then go back to its perch.

28/29 December - Near the Ruins of Ur, Iraq
Grey Heron - 1
Eagle (Aquila) sp. - 1
Black-winged Stilt - 3
Snowy (Kentish) Plover - 1
Red-wattled Plover - 1
Rock Dove - 25
Wood Pigeon - 1
Collared Dove - 40
Laughing Dove - 4
Pied Kingfisher - 3
Crested Lark - 20
White Wagtail - 35
White-cheeked Bulbul - 1
Black Redstart - 1 male semirufus
Pied Wheatear - 1
House Sparrow - 75

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