Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

December 18, 2017

Luxor Bird Watching 1

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 12:10 pm

Luxor Bird Watching.

Yesterday afternoon I went for a walk along the west bank of the Nile River at Luxor. There are fields along the river growing onions, wheat, eggplants, watercress and lots of juicy vegetables on the fertile soil.

Terek Sandpiper
Terek Sandpiper (Xenus cinereus)

There were a few waders along the banks of the river but not that many.

Bluethroat
Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica)

Bluethroat were very numerous between the river bank and the fields and would come very close to me.

Zitting Cisticola
Zitting Cisticola (Cisticola juncidis)

Lots of birds were flitting in and out of the fields.

Desert Wheatear
Desert Wheatear (Oenanthe deserti)

Yellow Wagtail - race beema
Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava beema)

I could not get my head around the variety of Yellow Wagtail races. There seem to be many sub-species along the river. Maybe this one is race beema. I am no expert.

Yellow Wagtail - race cinerocapilla
Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava cinerocapilla)

This one appears to be Yellow Wagtail, race cinerocapilla. It could also be race pygmaea. Why are they all mixed up together?

Common Ringed Plover
Common Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)

Common Ringed Plover front on showing how the band is nearly joined.

Red-throated Pipit
Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus)

Graceful Prinia
Graceful Prinia (Prinia gracilis)

This one was a night-mare to identify. The yellowish eye and upward tail sealed it for me. I was thinking Chiffchaff, warbler. Bad photo just for record shot only.

Luxore bird list

Terek Sandpiper (Xenus cinereus)
Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)
Desert Wheatear (Oenanthe deserti)
Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica)
White Wagtail
Spur-winged Lapwing
Little Egret
Pied Kingfisher
Black-tailed Godwit
Common Coot
Common Hoopoe
Hooded Crow
Ruff
Glossy Ibis
Great Cormorant
Common Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)
Zitting Cisticola (Cisticola juncidis)
Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus)
Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava beema)
Yellow Wagtails (Motacilla flava cinerocapilla )
Graceful Prinia (Prinia gracilis)

December 15, 2017

Aswan along the river nile

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 2:35 pm

A Walk From Elephantine Island to KIMA.

This morning up at 7am, walk from the hotel to the west side of Elephantine Island to the Movenpick Hotel site. Checked out the Great Cormorants sleeping in the trees on the west bank of the river. A few things here and there but nothing earth-shattering.

White-winged Tern
White-winged Tern (Chlidonias leucopterus)

Walked throught the Movenpick grounds and got a ferry to the east bank and walked north to the KIMA water outflow where there were a heap of White-winged Terns flying around in circles and dipping into the water. We tried to get some photos of the terns in flight but it was difficult. Most of the photos were out of focus.

White-winged Tern
White-winged Tern (Chlidonias leucopterus)

Out of 200 photos I kept 40. That is normal when you are trying to photograph terns flying around. The ones that I kept were still not in perfect focus.

Northern Shoveler
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)

We kept walking north and saw a few more ducks but nothing else. Called it quits and walked to the supermarket, got some supplies and caught a micro-bus back to KFC and a ferry across the river back home.

Aswan bird list

Great Cormorant
Ruff
Grey Heron
African Swamphen
Black-winged Stilt
White-winged Tern (Chlidonias leucopterus)
Western Marsh Harrier
Spur-winged Lapwing
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Egyptian Goose
Glossy Ibis
Little Egret
Black-tailed Godwit
Squacco Heron
Eurasian Teal
Northern Shoveler
Ferruginous Duck

December 14, 2017

River Life

Filed under: General — Tags: — admin @ 11:40 am

Life on the Nile River.

Here are some photos from life along the Nile River in Egypt. At the delta of the Nile is a series of lakes. I went to visit Lake Mariout, close to Alexandria.

a hut in the delta
Fisherman’s hut

This fisherman lived on a clump of dirt in the lake. Right next to a busy highway that goes to Cairo.

Near the city
Fishing near the city

Living near the city means that the fish get sold really quickly.

Nile felucca
A felucca on the Nile River

I was on a boat ride at Aswan and saw this felucca down the river.

feluccas on the nile river
Aswan scenery.

A couple of feluccas set against the west bank sand dunes and hotels.

cat on a boat
A cat on a boat.

I liked this graphic of a cat on a boat on the Aswan reservoir.

Broken minaret
An old minaret.

This old minaret by the Aswan reservoir was falling apart from where the water had risen during flood times.

Jebel Shisha lagoon
Fishing a lagoon.

This guy was setting nets in the lagoon near Jebel Shisha on the Aswan reservoir.

December 13, 2017

Between Two Dams

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 5:49 pm

Low Dam, Aswan.

Up at 7am again this morning. We hailed a taxi and headed for the lower dam at Aswan. This is a lake between the upper and lower dam. After negotiating for a boat, we chugged off and straight away spotted an African Pied Wagtail, one of the objects of our search.

African Pied wagtail
African Pied wagtail (Motacilla aguimp)

It was just sitting on a boat in the harbour. So off we went frantically clicking away. So, object achieved.

Pale Crag Martin
Pale Crag Martin (Ptyonoprogne obsoleta)

A few Page Crag Martins were sitting on a wire a good way away. It is not a good photo at all but at least it is a record shot

Egyptian Barn Swallow
Egyptian Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica savignii)

I have been seeing the Egyptian Barn Swallows flying around but could not get a shot of them until today. Another record shot.

Tufted Duck
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)

One of the ducks that I have been looking for all week. There were so many ducks on the lake. They were everywhere.

Eurasian Wigeon
Eurasian Wigeon (Mareca penelope)

Weird but cute.

Black-necked Grebe
Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)

We were on our way to Gebel Shisha when we started seeing a few Black-necked Grebe here and there. After a while we bumped into a big mob of them, more than a dozen.

Northern Shoveler
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)

This is the best photo so far.

Eurasian Teal
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)

This one was sitting in the lagoon when we got to Gebel Shisha. Nice and sharp this photo.

Desert Wheatear
Desert Wheatear (Oenanthe deserti)

Some nice plumage on this one.

It was a mammoth expedition today. We caught a taxi to the harbour just above the lower dam. Then sailed on the lake to Gebel Shisha. We disembarked and walked around the lagoon there. Then caught a kaput(small toyota mini-bus) to Shawalla. And walked the rest of the way back to the hotel.

Aswan bird list

African Pied wagtail (Motacilla aguimp)
Pale Crag Martin (Ptyonoprogne obsoleta) 8469
Egyptian Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica savignii)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) 8501
Eurasian Wigeon (Mareca penelope)
Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)

Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius)

Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca)
Gadwall

Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
Egyptian Goose
Common Coot
Black-tailed Godwit
Common Greenshank
Common Snipe
Common Redshank
Eurasian Spoonbill
Black-headed Gull
Pied Kingfisher
Black Kite
Osprey
Black-crowned Night Heron
Little Egret
Great Egret

December 12, 2017

A Bridge Too Far

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 4:25 pm

Aswan Bridge

Me and Dick got a taxi south to the bridge a few kilometers from Aswan town. There was a lagoon near the bridge with lots of birds flapping about.

White-tailed Lapwing
White-tailed Lapwing (Vanellus leucurus)

I have been looking for a White-tailed Lapwing ever since I got here. Finally found one. It seems this one might be an adult.

White-tailed Lapwing
White-tailed Lapwing (Vanellus leucurus)

And this is a photo showing the underwing and the white tail. Technical shot.

European Stonechat
European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)

This a female European Stonechat as far as I can tell. Formerly I thought I might have had a Siberian Stonechat as well, but it turned out to be a Bluethroat. Doh!

Red-throated Pipit
Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus)

This Red-throated Pipit is in winter plumage. Therefore it does not have a red throat.

White-winged Tern
White-winged Tern (Chlidonias leucopterus)

This White-winged Tern is still in summer plumage. Very strange. He was the only one.

White-winged Tern
White-winged Tern (Chlidonias leucopterus)

The rest of the White-winged Terns were in winter plumage, like this one. In his proper attire.

Gadwall
Gadwall (Anas strepera)

A flock of Gadwall flew around us a few times and then went south to the far corner of the lagoon where we could not cross.

Bluethroat
Bluethroat (Luscinia svevica)

And finally a decent photo of a Bluethroat. This one is a female. I almost thought it was a Siberian Stonechat from the side angle. doh!

Eurasian Spoonbill
Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)

And one single solitary Eurasian Spoonbill flew over.

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

And two Senegal Thick-knee landed near us and were promptly scared off by a noisy fisherman. Here is a great technical shot showing the underwings in flight. Nice.

Desert Wheatear
Desert Wheatear (Oenanthe deserti)

And just as we were leaving, we got a visit from a Desert Wheatear. After a few hours near the bridge, we phoned the taxi and stopped off at the supermarket to buy some vegetables and bread.

Aswan bridge bird list

White-tailed Lapwing (Vanellus leucurus)
European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)
Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus)
White-winged Tern (Chlidonias leucopterus)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Northern Shoveler(Anas clypeata)
Bluethroat (Luscinia svevica)
Little Egret
Glossy Ibis
Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)
Grey Heron
Purple Heron
Squacco Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron
Spur-winged Lapwing
Senegal Thick-knee (Burhinus senegalensis)
Black-winged Stilt
Common Sandpiper
Egyptian Goose
Whiskered Tern
Pied Kingfisher
Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava)
White Wagtail
Desert Wheatear (Oenanthe deserti)

December 11, 2017

Around Aswan Town

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 4:49 pm

Gebel Shisha and the Garbage Dump

Up at 6am this morning for a trip with Dick and Mohammed. First stop was Gebel Shisha which is on the lake at Aswan between the high and low dams.

White Stork
White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)

The White Stork were roosting on the rocky outcrops in the very early morning light.

Erurasian Teal
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)

Too far away for a decent photo, but a record shot anyway

Yellow-billed Kite
Yellow-billed Kite (Milvus aegyptius aegyptius)

They are very similar to the Black Kite, but with a yellow bill and smaller, more delicate head. Shot at the slaughterhouse on the road to the high dam. Addendum: This is race aegyptus seen north of the Sahara. The other African race is sub-saharan.

European Turtle Dove
European Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur)

We found this one on the way out on the wire. Pure luck.

Green Sandpiper
Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)

I think this is a tick. I forget.

Lesser Whitethroat
Lesser Whitethroat (Sylvia curruca)

Another bad photo, just a record shot.

 Common Chiffchaff
Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)

This is a better photo than yesterday.

Common Snipe
Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)

Little Stint
Little Stint (Calidris minuta)

Green Bee-eater
Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis)

Unbelievable how different the egyptian ones are to the ones to the east.

Aswan bird list

White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
Yellow-billed Kite (Milvus aegyptius aegyptus)
European Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur)
Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)
Lesser Whitethroat (Sylvia curruca)
Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)
Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)
Little Stint (Calidris minuta)
Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis)
Ruff
Common Sandpiper
Common Greenshank
Dunlin
Egyptian Goose
Common Hoopoe
Black-winged Stilt
Grey Heron
Purple Heron
Little Egret
Glossy Ibis
Spur-winged Lapwing
Black Kite (Milvus migrans)
Laughing Dove
White Wagtail
Brown-necked Crow
Desert Wheatear
House Sparrow
Great Cormorant
Common Redshank
Black-tailed Godwit
Common Ringed Plover

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
Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica)

I am hopeless with these little things. Thanks to Dick for the identification. 🙂

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)
Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica)
Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix)
Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeroginosus)
Spur-winged Lapwing (Vanellus spinosus)
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

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