Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

December 10, 2017

Aswan River Cruise

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 1:26 pm

Nile River Boat Ride.

This morning I was up at 7am waiting for my boat ride. Finally I got it all sorted and started off at 8am. Only an hour late but still plenty of birds on the river.

Senegal Thick-knee
Senegal Thick-knee (Burhinus senegalensis)

I have been wanting to see this one for years. Tick it off the list.

Ferruginous Duck
Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca)

The Ferruginous Duck is very small and very similar to the Australian Hardhead. The male Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca) has a white eye, while the female’s is dark. Both have sharply defined white undertail-coverts.

African Swamphen
African Swamphen (Porphyrio madagascariensis)

The African Swamphen is another swamphen that I did not know about. They have a lot of green on their back.

Black-headed Gull
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)

A close up of the Black-headed Gull showing the bill.

Common Ringed  Plover
Common Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)

Once again I mistook it for a Kentish Plover. doh!

Egyptian Goose
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)

There were lots of these on the river, in Egypt.

unknown warbler please help
Unknown warbler

I am hopeless with these little things.

Western Marsh Harrier
Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeroginosus)

A Western Marsh Harrier sitting on a sandbank oblivious to all the waders.

Ruff
Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)

Spur-winged Lapwing
Spur-winged Lapwing (Vanellus spinosus)

I finally got a good photo of one. yippee.

Common Greenshank
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)

Aswan Bird List

Senegal Thick-knee (Burhinus senegalensis)
Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca)
African Swamphen (Porphyrio madagascariensis)
Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix)
Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeroginosus)
Spur-winged Lapwing (Vanellus spinosus)
Spotted or Common Redshank 6827 ???
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Common Moorhen
Black-winged Stilt
Grey Heron
Purple Heron
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)
Glossy Ibis
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)
Common Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)
Great Cormorant
Yellow Wagtail
Squacco Heron
Whiskered Tern
Pied Kingfisher
Laughing Dove
Common Sandpiper
Osprey
Black-crowned Night-heron

December 9, 2017

Aswan – Nile River

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 6:00 pm

Elephantine Island Birding

I flew from Cairo to Aswan. It only took an hour and a half as opposed to 14 plus hours on a train. I found a guest house on Elephantine Island in the middle of the Nile River here at Aswan.

Common Bulbul
Common Bulbul (Pycnonotus barbatus)

In the afternoon I took a walk around the island. This is a new bulbul for me.

Squacco Heron
Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides)

I could have sworn that this was an Indian Pond Heron. But it aint.

Common Chiffchaff
Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)

Thanks to Dick for the identification for this warbler. I had no idea where to even start.

Black-headed Gull
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)

Lots of these flying around in large flocks.

Gull-billed Tern
Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica)

Quite a few of these as well.

Glossy Ibis
Glossy Ibis

And I could not resist this photo of a Glossy Ibis silhouetted against a sand dune.

Aswan bird list

Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)
Common Bulbul (Pycnonotus barbatus)
Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides)
Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
Grey Heron
Purple Heron
Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis)
Black-winged Stilt
Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)
Little Egret
Pied Kingfisher
Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica)
Laughing Dove
White Wagtail
Common Sandpiper
Glossy Ibis
Great Cormorant

December 7, 2017

I Kissed A Sphinx

Filed under: General — Tags: — admin @ 5:37 pm

The Pyramids of Giza.

Today was the day to see the famous pyramids of Giza. We set off in our Uber taxi about 10am, drove through interminable high rise buildings until we came to this pyramid sticking up into the sky just behind a big building.

I kissed a spinx
Me and the sphinx

Here is the photo of the day. Me kissing the sphinx. For real. I am so stoked with this photo. No-one would ever believe I really kissed a sphinx unless I had this documentary evidence for said event. For real.

a pyramid of giza
The pyramid

And here is the pyramid, or one of them with the tour buses, tourists, scammers and hasslers all intermingled. There was no let-up from getting harrassed by camel riders, horse riders, wannabe guides, trinket sellers. It was never-ending and relentless. Kind of spoiled the whole thing really.

kid
Kid.

This kid was one of the hordes of school groups that swarmed over the grounds like a plague of locusts.

a day at the pyramids
Horse, pyramid, schoolkids

Typical scene at the amazing pyramids of egypt.

the sphinx
The sphinx

And here is the lady herself in the natural setting.

boat of pharoah
pharoah’s boat

This is one of the fair dinkum ridgy-didge boat of the pharoahs. Housed in its own special building. You have to cover your shoes before you get in.

December 6, 2017

Oasis Birding in Egypt

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 4:16 pm

Siwa Oasis, Egypt.

Here are some of the birds from Siwa, an Oasis in the western desert region of Egypt, near to the libyan border. There were not very many birds there. I was quite surprised. It is quite lush with vegetation.

White-crowned Wheatear - adult
White-crowned Wheatear (Oenanthe leucopyga)

The adult with the white top of the head.

White-crowned Wheatear - juvenile
White-crowned Wheatear (Oenanthe leucopyga)

This one is a juvenile with the black head.

Common Kestrel
Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)

White Wagtail
White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)

Pigeon Roost
Pigeon Roost

I was wondering what this was for ages. It is a roost for pigeons. doh!

Birds of Siwa Oasis

Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
White-crowned Wheater (Oenanthe leucopyga)
Cattle Egret
Little Egret
Feral Pigeon
Laughing Dove
White Wagtail

Marsa Matrun and Siwa Oasis

Filed under: General — Tags: — admin @ 1:51 pm

Ocean and Oasis

Marsa Matrun is 300 kilometers west of Alexandria, sitting on edge of the Mediterannean Sea.

net haul
Setting nets

The water is so sparkling clear and blue. There are no tourist because it is winter time, but the weather was beautiful.

Ocean Panorama
Ocean panorama

This is the view towards Rommel’s Cove. Erwin Rommel had his underground headquarters built into the rock during the second world war.

Rommel's Bay
Rommel’s Bay

It seemed like most of the fishing boats were hauled up and getting work done on their hulls.

fishing boats hauled in
Fishing boats

And on into the desert. We caught a bus to Siwa, which is an oasis in the far west of Egypt. This was our half way cup of tea stop. Nothing there for miles and miles.

western desert egypt
Western Desert

Oasis
An oasis

And when you get there, there is vegetion all around. Date palms and olive trees abound. There is water flowing out of the ground. All is fertile.

pigeon roosts
Pigeon Roosts

I had to ask what these were for. I thought they were some kind of grain storage.

tombs of the dead
Tombs of the dead

We did a tour and on top of this hill are all these ancient graves. spooky.

Siwa Oasis panorama
View of Siwa Oasis

A panoramic view of the oasis from the top of the dead hill.

ali and me
Our guide Ali

Our guide and tuk-tuk driver was Ali. He was a really funny guy. I tried out the Zoolander Blue Steel look. I hope you think it was successful.

temple of Amun
Amun temple

The inscription was all in ancient Egyptian script. Dunno what it said.

salt pool
Salt pool

The water in this pool was so salty you just floated.

ruined city
Ruined City

The old city on top of the hill was in ruins.

December 1, 2017

Mariout Lake Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 3:35 pm

Lake Marriout

First day birding in Egypt. I got all the tourist photos out of the way and I was ready to go. This morning was the first day it had not rained. So it worked out just right. I was up at 7am and out the front of the hotel and ringing the uber taxi to go out to the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road which cuts right through Mariout Lake.

Western Marsh Harrier
Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

There were a couple of raptors this morning but this one was the only one close enough to see and identify properly. Maybe the other one was a Montagu’s Harrier. Too hard to say. This harrier could jump tall buildings in one bounce.

fishing the lake
Fisherman on the lake

There were a few fishermen scattered around the lake. Some fishing, some keeping fish in holding nets, and a few had homes right inside the lake on a scrap of dirt.

Spur-winged Lapwing
Spur-winged Lapwing (Vanellus spinosus)

First time I cought sight of this LAPWING. It is not a plover. This is the correct Spur-winged Lapwing. Australians have been mis-naming the Spur-winged Plover for eons. stop it!

Little Egret
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

It is a bit nerdy when you know and remember the scientific name of a bird. doh!

Pied Kingfisher
Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis)

There were quite a few Pied Kingfisher hovering over the lake fishing. This one is in a very delicate pas de deux.

White Wagtail
White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)

I knew this one. Seen quite a few lately.

Great Cormorant V formation
Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)

There were a few formations of these Great Cormorants spreading out over the sky.

Mariout Lake bird list

Spur-winged Lapwing (Vanellus spinosus)
Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)
Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola)
Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides)
Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix)
Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis)
White-throated Kingfisher (Halycon smyrnensis)
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus)
White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)

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