Saturday, February 12, 2005

Today was my last day of active duty. We left Fort Drum on Thursday and came back to Connecticut. We spent two days at a Camp Rell in Niantic for demobilization briefings.

In my last post I said that I thought I had seen my last lifer in Kuwait. I was wrong. I had one more the day we left Kuwait.

On our departure day I walked to a remote corner of the camp where the desert vegetation wasn't disturbed. On my way there I turned over a board and found a termite colony with a few big soldiers in with the rank and file. All over the dunes I had noticed tiny little mounds that looked like anthills with no hole. They turned out to be places where the termites were pushing the sand out of their tunnels. Looking at the desert landscape, the last thing I though of was termites but there's plenty of cellulose around for them and they turned out to be abundant.

In the scrub areas I once again saw both Desert and Isabelline wheatears. I also had a glimpse of a small sandy colored bird. It took half and hour of searching and I finally found a group of 3 Desert Warblers running around the base of a spiny little bush and once in a while hopping up on the top of the bush to get a better view. These birds were hyperactive.

On our trip back home we made a stop in Shannon, Ireland where I saw a few rooks hanging around the terminal.

In Fort Drum I took a few walks and saw both White-breasted and Red-breasted Nuthatches, Black-capped Chickadees, and a Downy Woodpecker. During the week I was there I had quite a few sightings of Wild Turkeys. One night the temperature was in the 30's and I saw a reddish brown moth flying around. I think it might have been a Eupsilia species perhaps E. vinulenta one of the common winter flying moths I sometimes see at this time of year.

During my two days at the Connecticut shore I saw a few more familiar birds; Bufflehead, Red-breasted Merganser, Mute Swan and my first Turkey Vulture of the year.

My plans for this blog are to continue posting about Iraqi plants and wildlife. Post some of my photos and hopefully get some first hand observations from people on the ground. I know I'm not the only birder who was over there. I'll probably also start another blog for my North American observations next week.

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