Monday, 29 March 2010

7th March. You never know when you need a shovel.

Ahmed Aidek kindly joined us today to show us his sites to the south of Deir Ezzor. We stopped first at Al Fedha; nothing but 2 Siberian Stonechats. We turned off south of the main Deir Ezzor-Palmyra highway to explore the huge amount of steppe behind Chola village. Straight away we hit Sociables; 10, then 85 then 5. However, after that they dried up and we finished the day on a total of 116. These were good sites though and further strengthened my view that SPs favour areas of seasonally wet land to feed in. The damp wadis and feda support a richer flora and hence more invertebrates. This is where most of the Sociables are to be found feeding.The supporting cast was good; Black-bellied and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Golden Eagle, Pallid and Hen Harrier, Isabelline Wheatear, Tawny Pipit, Temminck's Lark, Bar-tailed Desert Lark and more Hoopoe Larks than you could point a stick at.

Lunch by the only trees for miles around produced 40 Chiffchaffs, 3 Black Redstarts and 5 Hoopoes.We covered many kilometres of desert habitat, with one dodgy moment when the vehicle got stuck in soft sand. We leapt out to push and quick as a flash Housam produced his salvaged shovel to dig around the wheels. You never know when you need a shovel.

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