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 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

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)

November 27, 2017

Northern Beaches – UAE

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 1:31 pm

Umm Al Quwain and Khor Al Beida

From the mountains to the coast. Khor Al Beida is a mangrove forest in the estuary north of Umm Al Quwain. It is steadily getting built up and the wetlands are being filled in and developed.

Graceful Prinia
Graceful Prinia (Prinia gracilis)

It was hard to identify this from the Zitting Cisticola but the striped undertail gave it away.

Common Greenshank
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebulinga)

Again the bill shape and upward tilt defined this Common Greenshank.

Western Reef Egret , dark morph
Western Reef Egret (Egretta gularis)

I was wondering why this one seemed darker than the usual dark morph Western Reef Egrets I had been seeing. Adults are darker than juveniles. doh!

Dunlin
Dunlin (Calidris alpina)

Again bill shape defined identification of this Dunlin.

Ruddy Turnstone
Ruddy Turnstone

Ruddy Turnstones are really easy to identify with their plumage and weird shaped bills.

Grey Plover
Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)

A Grey Plover flying over the surf.

UAE north coast bird list

Graceful Prinia (Prinia gracilis)
Western Reef Egret
Lesser Sand Plover
Greater Flamingo
Rainbow Bee-eater
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebulinga)
Greater Sand Plover
Dunlin (Calidris alpina)
Ruddy Turnstone
Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)
Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)
Eurasian Oystercatcher
Kentish Plover
Socotra Cormorant

November 26, 2017

Chowka Dam Redux

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 9:53 am

Chowka Dam Revisited

Back to Chowka Dam for another go. The last time I was here they were doing all road work and I could not get to the back of the dam. They had finished all the road works and were working on all the paving around the roads. I do not know if the birds will appreciate it, but I think the local tourists might.

Black Redstart
Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros semirufus)

Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros semirufus) ,race semirufus ,has black upperparts and throat to lower breast, sharply defined from red below.

Scrub Warbler
Scrub Warbler (Scotocerca inquieta)

White-spectacled Bulbul
White-spectacled Bulbul (Pycnonotus xanthopygos)

Desert Whitethroat
Desert Whitethroat (Sylvia minula)

Arabian Babbler
Arabian Babbler (Turdoides squamiceps)

Chowka Dam bird list

Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros semirufus)
Scrub Warbler (Scotocerca inquieta)
Desert Lark
White-spectacled Bulbul (Pycnonotus xanthopygos)
Arabian Babbler (Turdoides squamiceps)
Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis)
Desert Whitethroat
Asian Desert Warbler (Sylvia nana) 5323
Purple Sunbird
Indian Roller
Laughing Dove
Little Grebe
Common Hoopoe
Brown-necked Raven
House Sparrow
Black-winged Stilt
Grey Heron
Great Cormorant
Laughing Dove

Wadi Birding UAE

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 9:36 am

Khatt to Masafi

I camped at the beach at Dibba and then headed off to the northern areas of the UAE to Wadi Bih. I drove up the Jais Mountain and then headed back to Wadi Masafi. Last time I was there I encountered a flash flood from a massive thunderstorm and I wanted to go back to see if I had missed anything.

Arabian Babbler
Arabian Babbler (Turdoides squamiceps)

On the way I stopped at Khatt, which is supposed to have natural springs but it seemed like they were closed. I stopped at a truck stop/gravel pit for lunch and found some Arabian Babblers.

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

I got to Masafi in the afternoon, set up my tent on the gibber plain just out of town and then went for a walk up the wadis.

White-spectacled Bulbul
White-spectacled Bulbul

Red-tailed Wheatear
Red-tailed Wheatear (Oenanthe chrysopygia)

Desert Whitethroat
Desert Whitethroat (Sylvia minula)

Desert Lark
Desert Lark

Masafi Wadi Bird List

Green Bee-eater
Grey Heron
Arabian Babbler (Turdoides squamiceps)
Common Hoopoe
White-spectacled Bulbul
Hume’s Wheatear (Oenanthe albonigra)
Red-tailed Wheatear (Oenanthe chrysopygia)
Desert Lark
Desert Whitethroat (Sylvia minula)
Purple Sunbird

November 18, 2017

Desert Birds – Masafi Wadi

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 11:15 am

Masafi Wadi Birding.

Masafi is about fifty kilometers from Kalba in East Coast UAE. I drove up there in the afternoon and went for a walk up the wadi until the thunder starting making big loud noises. I got out of there as soon as I could. I very luckily happened to photograph a Plain Leaf Warbler so that was a bonus.

Plain Leaf Warbler
Plain Leaf Warbler (Phylloscopus neglectus)

Just as well I got out of there when I did because the rain bucketed down thirty minutes later. It absolutely poured. There was water flowing everywhere. Lucky I was parked on a flat spot so it just went round me. The wadi filled up and soon turned into a raging torrent. After the rain stopped people came from everywhere to gawk at the water flowing down the wadi.

Scrub Warbler
Scrub Warbler (Scotocerca inquieta)

The next morning I scooted up the wadi again, this time bagging the object of my desire, the Scrub Warbler. Very nice little bird.

Desert Whitethroat
Desert Whitethroat (Sylvia minula)

There were quite a few birds in the next wadi along. It was much better inhabited by birds.

White-spectacled Bulbul
White-spectacled Bulbul

Desert Lark
Desert Lark (Ammomanes deserti)

I have been trying to work out the name of the above bird for a week. It is the Desert Lark. I was calling it a thick-billed pipit. doh!

Common Hoopoe
Common Hoopoe

Also called Eurasian Hoopoe.

Masafi Wadi Birds list

Scrub Warbler (Scotocerca inquieta)
Plain Leaf Warbler (Phylloscopus neglectus)
Desert Whitethroat (Sylvia minula)
Desert Lark (Ammomanes deserti)
White-spectacled Bulbul,
Hume’s Wheatear (Oenanthe albonigra)
Tawny Pipit (Anthus campestris)
Common Hoopoe

More Gulls from Khor Kalba

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 7:53 am

More Kalba Gulls.

I took some more photos of the gulls and water birds around the beaches at Khor Kalba. There are many different species so it has taken me some time to get to grips with their identification. I still am not confident of my choices but I have learnt a lot in the process.

Eurasian Oystercatcher
Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)

I saw one of these the other day but it was shooting across the water and I did not get a good shot. This one is a lot better but still not top notch.

Eurasian Oystercatcher
Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) in flight

Still not fantastic but you can see the wing patterns, etc.

Various terns and gull
Various terns and gull

Lesser Crested Tern (Sterna bengalensis) , Great Crested Tern (Sterna bergii) aka Swift Tern and
Common Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) .

Sooty Tern
Sooty Tern (Onychoprion fuscia) 4266

Sooty Tern at back. Common Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) in front.

Sandwich Tern
Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis) 4269

Black-billed tern in the middle with yellow tip.

Sooty Gull
Sooty Gull (Larus hemprechii) adult

Sooty Gull
Sooty Gull (Larus hemprechii)

Sooty Gull – 1st winter on left, adult on right.

Sooty Gull in flight
Sooty Gull (Larus hemprechii)

1st winter in flight.

Yellow-legged Gull
Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis) adult

Yellow-legged Gull
Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis) 1st winter

Khor Kalba bird list

Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)
Lesser Crested Tern (Sterna bengalensis)
Great Crested Tern (Sterna bergii) aka Swift Tern
Common Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis) 4269 DONE
Sooty Tern (Onychoprion fuscia) 4266 DONE
Sooty Gull (Larus hemprechii) 4685 adult YIP 4723 1st winter 4745
Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis) adult 4749 DONE , 1st winter 4761 DONE
Western Reef Egret
Striated Heron (Butorides striata)

November 15, 2017

Khor Kalba – UAE

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 3:40 pm

Kalba, Eastern UAE.

They had the bull-dozers out at Chowka Dam in the afternoon and the site was basically inacessible. So I drove to Khor Kalba in the night. There are two amazing tunnels through the mountains, all lit up like a disco. When I made it to Kalba, I was a bit lost because there were houses everywhere. It was a pretty big town. I was expecting a small fishing village.

Yellow-legged Gull - first winter
Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis) first winter

I ended up camping in a construction site with road work going on through the night. And a barking dog. Life is fun.

Yellow-legged Gull - winter adult
Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis) winter adult

I found a library so I uploaded all my photos bar these, and completed my blog posts. I had quite a big back-log, so I was going nearly all afternoon.

Yellow-legged Gull - first winter in flight
Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis) first winter in flight

I had a swim as well which was nice. The beaches are very long and you can drive on them.

Eurasian Oystercatcher
Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)

This is just a record shot. A really crappy one. doh!

Common Tern
Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

Brown-headed Gull  in flight
Brown-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus brunnicephalus) in flight

Brown-headed Gull
Brown-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus brunnicephalus)

man with fish
Fisherman with catch

Khor Kalba bird list

Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)
Brown-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus brunnicephalus)
Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis)
Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)
Common Myna
House Crow
Grey Heron
Kentish Plover

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