White-eyed Gull ~ Hurghada, Egypt - Mar' 16

Saturday, 26 March 2016

A long weekend spent in Hurghada, Egypt with the aim being to photograph White-eyed Gull ..





Flew out of Gatwick with Easyjet on the 18th returned on the 21st for £188 ..

Stayed at 'The Three Corners' sunny beach resort via Hotels.com and got a All Inclusive deal for £107 ..

Also got a Car & Driver for £50 per day, he spoke good english and got us in to places with high security with ease ..
This is by far the easiest way to travel about and takes all the hassle out of the trip ..
If your planning a trip contact Hamed

 +20 101 9565999 or facebook




The morning of the 19th, before breakfast was a walk from the hotel to the lagoon this was c.2km open stretch of beach with a small fishing village right next to a Army base, we were warned here by one of the fishermen to be careful with the camera's ..
Of note Caspian Tern, Slender-billed Gull, Kentish & Grey Plover and Northern Wheatear ..



Midday we met up with Hamed and drove down to Sahl Hasheesh, this was and like everywhere else under very high security without Hamed entry would not of been possible ..
The target bird couldn't be seen here as we were restricted to being followed by security so moved on ..



Hurghada Marina was a good site for both White-eyed and Sooty gulls although there was security at the gate this site was open to the public with bars and cafes along the waterfront ..





Hamed has a friend with a boat !!
A quick phone call and we were booked for the following day to go out to one of the Islands ..





The 20th and day 2, the wind had increased from none yesterday to 20mph and the flat sea was no more ..
We met Fares our boatmen, it was about 30 mins before we dropped anchor and waded in to a deserted sand bar.


  
The wind and the sunlight weren't great for photograph as the birds were lite from the back but it was just a great place to be, isolated on a island with no one else there ...



Of note on the sand bar ...
Little, Caspian, Common and Swift Tern. 
Pallid Harrier male, Spoonbill, Pallas's Gull, White-eyed, Sooty, Baltic and Slender-billed Gull.






I would highly recommend the boat trip especially later in the year as the species seen would be fantastic ..
If its possible to get on the other islands then the birding could be great ..







The 21st and Day 3, started off near the kite center at El Gouna with a few hirundines and Kentish Plover only for the effort, out near the farm were Steppe Buzzard and Greater Short-toed Lark ..







The remainder of the day was spent back at Hurghada marina before the early evening flight ..





Thanks to Hamed for making this a hassle free trip as without him it would of been very difficult accessing some sites ..





Below is a link for a locations guide
Map showing sites visited ...

Wheatears are they Cool ?

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

I have a question ..

Wheatears are they cool ?

Smart, colourful birds but have they got the X-factor !!

Northern Wheatear ~ Dungeness

Desert Wheatear ~ Bempton Cliffs

Isabelline Wheatear ~ Israel

Red-rumped Wheatear ~ Morocco

Black Wheatear ~ Morocco

Magreb Wheatear ~ Morocco

Pied Wheatear ~ Romania

Black-eared Wheatear ~ Lesvos

White crowned Wheatear ~ Morocco

Desert Wheatear ~ Morocco

Hume's Wheatear ~ Israel

Northern Wheatear ~ Dungeness


So this question was asked to some of the birding elite ...
Including a Scientist and a Male Model !!

Are they cool ?

Mr. Wright ...

"Yes great birds the herald of spring"

Mr. Ramm ...

"Anything that's name derives from white arse is f*c*ing awesome"

Mr. Lawson ...

"Err ......... of course!!"
The missus says "They are cute"

Mr. Harvey ...

"I like them but I like them as much as gulls, owls, warblers etc etc"

Mrs. Marinus ...


" I ate one once, nice it was ..."

Mr. Bonser ...

"They're only cool for birders who like easy photographic targets and are unable to identify birds that aren't bright and gaudy"

Mr. Lethbridge ...

"Wheatears rock, you know it"

Mr. Gibbard ...

"They are good and always nice to see"

Mr. Cachinnans ...

"Yeah they're cool, better than fish heads"

Mr. Ashton ...

" Cooler than a Glaucous Gull but not as cool as a Ross's or Ivory"

Mr. Smith ...

"Wheatears are red hot ! and so are most species of bird ! I will pop the lot !
However, gulls are more fun (and interesting) Give me a Franklin's, a Sabine's, a Ross's or Red-billed any day before a Wheatear on a wheelie bin" 

The majority say that yes they're cool ...

As for the X-factor ...

No Wheatears just fail on having the X-factor, due to the fact that Gulls have it !!!




Caspian Gull ~ Dungeness, Kent - 21.02.16

Sunday, 21 February 2016

With the forecast for dull and overcast conditions I wasn't really expecting to much today but 45mph winds with a bit of drizzle produced the most gulls feeding I've seen here since Dec' 13 ..

1000's of gulls all feasting on queen cockle and starfish in the crashing surf.

The lazy Glaucous never moved from the shingle ridge all afternoon.

From the boats between 13:00 and 16:00 I managed to find a new Caspian Gull a refreshing change to the regular bird which today didn't make an appearance ..











United Arab Emirates ~ Feb' 16

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Flew from Heathrow to Dubai, 6th to the 13th February with the base being in Fujairah on the east coast.
The main targets were the larger gulls on Kalba Beach, in the afternoons when the fishermen pulled the nets up the beach, but there was two slight problems with this plan ...

#1 .. The fishermen weren't fishing !!
#2 .. No large gulls came to feed !!

So some previous sites from last year were tried again, along with some new ones with varying degrees of success ...

Wamm Farm, then tried new sites along the east coast down to Kalba.

Al Riffa in the north near the Oman border, down the west coast for the falling tide at Khor al-Beida.

Jebel Hafit and Green Mubazzarah.

The mountains from Kalba to Hatta, trying many tracks off the main roads and off the Huwaylat Road, best spot was Wadi al Helo ...

Common Myna ~ Green Mubazzarah


Common Myna ~ Green Mubazzarah


Red-wattled Lapwing ~ Green Mubazzarah


Lesser Crested Tern ~ Kalba Beach


Whiskered Tern ~ Kalba Beach


Swift Tern ~ Kalba Beach


Slender-billed Gull ~ Kalba Beach


Slender-billed Gull ~ Kalba Beach


Western Reef Egret ~ Kalba Beach


Sooty Gull ~ Kalba Beach


Sooty Gull ~ Kalba Beach


Whimbrel ~ Kalba Beach


Purple Sunbird ~ Wamm Farm


Desert Lark ~ Wadi al-Helo


Blue Rock Thrush ~ Wadi al-Helo


Isabelline Wheatear ~ Al Rams

Hooded Wheatear ~ Jebel Hafit


Hume's Wheatear ~ Wadi al-Helo


Hume's Wheatear ~ Wadi al-Helo

This next image was taken just after the sun dropped giving a soft light, its a big crop but its my ...

' Image of the Trip '


Hume's Wheatear ~ Wadi al-Helo


A good trip but finding targets to photograph sure was hard work ..