Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

December 30, 2017

From Hurghada to Istanbul

Filed under: General — Tags: , — admin @ 1:53 pm

Egypt and Turkey.

I spent a few days in Hurghada on the Red Sea in Egypt. The last two I was sick with a stomach bug so I did not go out.I took a few interesting photos around the hotel. This guy on the bike was the garbage recycler. He would go through the rubbish bins and pick out anything that was of use or value. The cats were very fond of the rubbish bins as well.

local garbo
Rubbish Man.

This camel was tied up on an unused building site. I thought it was an inappropriate place to tether an animal as large as this. It looked mighty strange this ship of the desert tied up in a suburban wasteland.

Camel in not such a nice place.
Camel in Inappriate setting.

I flew to Istanbul, Turkey at 3am in the morning. Luckily I slept most of the flight. Still, I was a bit seedy the next day. The airport was miles away from my hotel and we had to go through all the bumper to bumper traffic to get to the old part of Istanbul.

sultanamet
Sultanamet

I went for a walk along the waterfront and met these guys. They turned out to be alcoholics who were being all friendly wanting their picture taken, and then asked me for money. I walked away.

the local alchos
Alcoholics scabbing money

Yesterday I went for a few ferry rides to take some photos of the birds. This ferry came in when we were waiting to leave on our tourist ride.

Bosphorus commuter ferry
Bosphorus ferry boat

This was a commuter ferry and these were the hordes getting off to go to the European side of Istanbul. Maybe they were going shopping or returning home from work.

ferry commuters
Istanbul commuters

It has been raining for about three days. It is pretty miserable. I have bought a new jacket, beanie and umbrella. I am ready for the winter.

December 28, 2017

Gulls in Hurghada

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 3:10 pm

Hurghada Birds

The gulls in Hurghada roost on a half-finished resort just going out of town to the north. There is a real mixture there. There may be more than I could tell.

Armenian Gull
Armenian Gull (Larus armenicus)

This is a first winter Armenian Gull at the back standing with some adults in front sitting down.

Heuglin's Gull - first winter
Heuglin’s Gull (Larus heuglini) – first winter

The black patch at the end of the dark bill gives me some sort of clue about this Heuglin’s Gull.

Heuglin's Gull
Heuglin’s Gull (Larus heuglini) adult

The adult Heuglin’s Gull has a red ring around the eye with a patch on the bottom bill.

Sooty Gull
Sooty Gull (Larus hemprichii)

The only all dark gull with a white patch at the top of the eye.

White-eyed Gull
White-eyed Gull (Larus leucophthalmus)

The White-eyed Gull is essentially a Red Sea endemic. There is a white patch below and above the eye.

And that is the end of Egypt. Next post is from Istanbul, Turkey. More gulls. Probably the same ones.

Hurghada bird list

Armenian Gull (Larus armenicus)
Heuglin’s Gull (Larus heuglini)
Sooty Gull (Larus hemprichii)
White-eyed Gull (Larus leucophthalmus)

December 25, 2017

Al Quseir and Marsa Alam

Filed under: General — Tags: — admin @ 8:03 am

Red Sea Coast.

I caught a minibus from Luxor to Al Quseir, where I stayed for a night before heading to Marsa Alam.

al quseir waterfront
Al Quseir waterfront

Marsa Alam is a weird place, it seems mostly deserted. There are half-finished buildings everywhere and no people. It was like walking through a ghost town. The people seemed pretty friendly, no hassles. It is pretty good for divers, the reefs are pretty shallow and the costs are cheap compared to western countries. A Dutch guy I met was paying about twenty euros per dive. And he said the safety was reasonably good.

Marsa Alam - abandoned and lost
Abandoned beach umbrella installations.

After Marsa Alam I caught the Upper Egypt bus to Safaga. I found a really cheap fancy hotel near the sea port but it is a fair way away from the town center. Beaches here are inaccessible. That was disappointing.

Plastic littered the beach
Plastic littered the beach

I am heading to Hurghada today. Let us hope that the beaches are more accessible. But the wind is blowing very hard and it is freezing.

disaster zone
Marsa Alam – ghost town and disaster area.

Caspian Tern
Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia)

Red Sea bird list

Western Reef Egret
Chiffchaff
Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia)
Greater Sand Plover

December 24, 2017

Aswan and Luxor Photos

Filed under: General — Tags: — admin @ 7:48 am

Upper Nile Valley Tourist Photos.

In Aswan I spent a lot of bird watching and spent about eight days there. Most of the time was along the river or the Aswan Reservoir.

fishing aswan reservoir
Fishing at Jebel Shisha

Jebel Shisha is a small village on the Aswan Reservoir between the high and low dams on the Nile River.

desert ruins
Desert Ruins

Some ruined buildings on the west bank of the Nile at Aswan.

cruise ships
Too many cruise ships

There were heaps of cruise ships docked at Aswan. Some of them in a bad state of disrepair. There are not many tourists around after all the security problems in Egypt and tourists are staying away.

balloon 9640
Balloon over Luxor

There were quite a lot of hot air balloons operating at Luxor. They went up before sunset and floated around for a few hours, then came down again.

Balloon over the desert.
Balloon over the desert.

Another balloon cruising over the desert.

some pharoah dude
Statue of some pharoah dude.

I liked this statue. I think it was Hatsepshut or something like that. doh!

Desert village
Desert village

These villages were still up but I would not like to live there. They are near the tombs of the dead.

Tranquil village scene
Tranquil village scene

Nice shot of a donkey in the village. I like donkeys.

Balloon rising from the palms
Balloon rising from the palms

A balloon taking off from near the west bank village.

Ancient temple.
Ancient temple.

Lots of ancient temples Most of them in a bad state of disrepair.

man donkey fodder
Fodder cart.

An old man with donkey carting fodder around.

December 20, 2017

The Red Sea

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 6:10 pm

El Quseir Birding

What a horror of a journey getting to the Red Sea. I set off this morning hoping to catch the 10am bus to Hurghada and getting off at Safaga. But no 10am bus. So I went to GoBus and booked a ticket for the 3:30pm VIP bus. Dejected, I went and had a turkish coffee. While in the cafe, I met a guy who said he could get me on a mini-bus to Safaga. So off I went to the mini-bus station. But the first bus would not take me because tourists were not allowed to travel by minibus. But we found another driver and off I went. No hassles, except we went via Al Qusair which is more south than Safaga. So I got off there and found a hotel.

White-eyed Gull  in flight
White-eyed Gull (Larus leucophthalmus) in flight

A flock of these White-eyed Gulls came wheeling towards me when I was on a wharf in the harbour. They flew around in circles for a while until they settled in what appeared to be an old swimming pool.

White-eyed Gull
White-eyed Gull (Larus leucophthalmus)

I hurried up the road, crashed through a cafe and started clicking away at these White-eyed Gull in front of a bunch of yuppies sipping on their lattes. Satisfied after I had shot enough photos, I trudged off past all the yuppies and back through the cafe to the street, triumphant. A new species!

One-legged Common Greenshank
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)

This Common Greenshank had only one shank. It looked like something had bitted one off!

Common Redshank
Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)

There were not many waders along the shore. These were the only three there.

Greater Sand Plover
Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaulti)

At the end of the day, I found a great hotel on the sea-shore, I went for a walk along the beach, got ripped off, had a super cheap felafel meal and coffee, and I have erratic wifi. Tomorrow I must find a way to get to Marsa Alam. It is the weekend but I managed to book a guest house for a couple of nights. Christmas is coming up – I wonder where I shall spend it? Probably near Hurghada.

Red Sea Bird List

White-eyed Gull (Larus leucophthalmus)
Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)
Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaulti)

December 19, 2017

Luxor Bird Watching 3

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 3:28 pm

Desert and Canals

This morning I rented a bicycle and headed west from the hostel into the desert. I went past where all the tombs were but no birds at all. I did find some birds around the canals.

Egyptian Barn Swallow
Egyptian Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica savignii)

I have been trying to get some photos of the Egyptian Barn Swallow and finally found some on the wires. This is the Egyptian race, savignii.

Barn swallow
Barn swallow (Hirundo rustica)

This is the nominate race Barn Swallow for comparison. The tummy is white as compared to the red of the Egyptian Barn Swallow.

Black-winged Kite
Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus)

There were quite a few Black-winged Kites around lurking on the overhead wires.

Common Chiffchaff
Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)

At first I thought it was a Nile Valley Sunbird, but I was disappointed. doh!

Common Bulbul
Common Bulbul (Pycnonotus barbatus)

I am not sure if this is the Egyptian race, arsinoe whose range is Egypt (Nile Valley), eastern Chad, Sudan, and northern South Sudan.

Luxor bird list

Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)
Egyptian Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica savignii)
Barn swallow (Hirundo rustica)
Common Bulbul (Pycnonotus barbatus) or Egyptian Bulbul (Pycnonotus barbatus arsinoe)
Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus)

December 18, 2017

Luxor Bird Watching 2

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 4:46 pm

Luxor Birding 2

18/12/2017 Morning. Once again I set off along the river bank heading north at Luxor west bank. The sun was shining at ninety degrees. I thought it might be behind me but it was not.

Greater Painted-snipe
Greater Painted-snipe (Rostratula benghalensis)

This is the first time I have seen a Greater Painted-snipe. Lucky.

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

This Red-throated Pipit still has some summer plumage left.

Common Greenshank
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)

Little Stint
Little Stint (Calidris minuta)

Crested Lark
Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)

European Stonechat
European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)

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

Zitting Cisticola
Zitting Cisticola (Cisticola juncidis)

Bluethroat
Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica)

Graceful Prinia
Graceful Prinia (Prinia gracilis)

Luxor Bird LIst

Greater painted-snipe (Rostratula benghalensis)
Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus)
Egyptian Barn Swallow
Common Hoopoe
Terek Sandpiper
Common Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)
Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus)
Little Stint (Calidris minuta)
Ruff
White Wagtail
Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)
European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)
Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava beema)
Glossy Ibis
Purple Heron
Black Kite
Common Moorhen
Zitting Cisticola
Graceful Prinia
Spur-winged Lapwing
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)
Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)
Spur-winged Lapwing (Vanellus spinosus)
Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica)

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.

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