Saturday, 27 March 2010
19th February. Lake Jubbal.
Having arrived at Jabbul after dark, we slept communally with the Syrian guys, on the floor, fully clothed, under rough blankets. It was still pitch black when we were woken by the call to prayer. A hot sweet glass of tea was followed by a communal cup of powerful Arabic coffee. Our team included Ghazi and Hussein from the Desert Commission and Hayan from SSCW. We were joined by Yaseen and Ahmed from Jubbal.
We birded around the lake all day. Eleven Sociable Plovers were almost the first birds seen. Calandra Larks were everywhere and the large flocks of White-fronted Geese included 2 Lesser White-fronts. The lake held huge numbers of wildfowl including 2450 Shoveler, a massive flock of 2300 White-headed Ducks and 50 Ferruginous Ducks. We counted just a small proportion of the Flamingos (320) and Great White Egrets (92). Other birds included 55 Whiskered Terns, 28 Spoonbills, 17 White Pelicans, 200 Little Stints and 102 Kentish Plovers. The reedbeds held Moustached Warblers, Bearded Tits, 2 Iraq Babblers and a couple of Grey-headed Swamphens.
We stopped for lunch near some Bedouin tents and they greeted us with coffee, then provided rugs to sit on, and fresh sheep’s yogurt and cheese. Finally they gave us hot tea. Our first taste of the amazing hospitality and friendliness of these people. A super experience.