Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Jordan 20-27 Oct 2007

At the Roman city of Jerash, LONG TAILED PIPIT, Hooded crow, Great tit (famously at its Easternmost extreme) , Crested Lark and House sparrow.
At Mount Nebo (Moses' tomb): Goldfinches, 2 LONG LEGGED BUZZARDS circling overhead and the first closeup of the ubiquitous Common (Yellow Vented) Bulbul.
The visitor centre at Wadi Rum gave our first WHITE CROWNED BLACK WHEATEAR and when we explored around our campsite the next morning we found (appropriately enough) DESERT LARK, DESERT WARBLER, PALE CRAG MARTIN AND BROWN NECKED RAVEN. Our first TRISTAMS GRACKLES were sitting on the camels that came for us!
On to Petra, where we found a RED BACKED SHRIKE in the trees opposite the hotel. On the way through the siq (the narrow rock cleft leading to the tombs) we saw a couple of SHORT TAILED EAGLES floating overhead. The rest of the day there was disappointing (only a Black Redstart in the village)) until we climbed up to the Monastery ( seeing FAN TAILED RAVENS on the way up). On the ledges to the left of the facade we saw MOURNING WHEATEAR and finally SINIAI ROSEFINCH (pictured). At about 4pm the ravine to the left of the coffee shop became full of birds....one of those special spots.
At Dana nature reserve the lodge we stayed at had a balcony with a stunning view over the valley and from there we saw numerous CHUKAR PARTRIDGES on the hillside below, SYRIAN SERINS in the bushes, Kestrels patrolling and then the magnificent sight of a SOOTY FALCON running through its full range of attack manouvres. In the orchards we saw Blackbirds. On our hike we saw a MASKED SHRIKE as well as a Chameleon and Nubian Ibexes. On an early morning patrol we found a BLUE ROCK THRUSH. the aeas where Lesser Kestrels, Verraux Eagles and Vultures were to be found were pointed out from a distance.
At the Dead Sea, no eponymous sparrows but a WHITE WAGTAIL, PALESTINE SUNBIRDS and what must have been a migrant Whinchat.

Helsinki 11/12 Oct 2007

Overnight trip to Helsinki.
Whatever the collective noun is for a small flock of Waxwings, we got good views of several as they took berries from the laden trees. A particularly good view in fact from the restaurant of the Raddison 'Seaside' hotel ('Shipyard-side' I suppose would be less enticing even if rather more accurate).
Also Hooded Crows and Magpies in a park.