Sunday, 28 March 2010
28th February. Abu Kasheb and on to Palmyra.
A couple of days of wet weather. On the first we covered the area north of Deir Ezzor known as Abu Kasheb. This is an extensive area of steppe which unfortunately was covered in low cloud and drizzle. We managed a fly-over flock of 8 Sociables, seemingly moving north with some purpose. It appears that spring is late this year and movement is only just beginning. As usual, birds on the stepppe were sparse but the tally included a few Isabelline Wheatears, a Pallid Harrier and 400 Desert Finches.
We arrived at Muhaymidah, an ox-bow lake by the Euphates in the late afternoon. After tea in a locals house we were mobbed by kids as we watched the lake. Marbled Teal, White-tailed Plover, Iraq Babbler and Garganey were all seen but the highlight was a brief view of a Jackal.
We set off from Deir Ezzor towards Palmyra and our first stop produced 17 Sociables feeding alongside the road at Al Fedha We wandered through the empty, pre-tourist season ruins in the afternoon, with the views from the hil top fortress being truly spectactular. Birds included Blue Rock Thrush, Mourning Chat, Isabelline and Finsch's Wheatear, many Lesser Short-toed Larks and a pair of Brown-necked Ravens.