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May 03, 2005

Images of Iraq: Baby Babblers and Bombed Buildings

Yes, I've a weakness for alliteration.

Major Ed, who has less than a week left in his tour of Iraq, sent in these images, among others. The first is of a newly-fledged Iraqi babbler, which Major Ed says is quite common at the moment

They must all be hatching now because the reeds are full of them.

The second "is a place we use known as JDAM palace. A JDAM is a GPS guided bomb. Guess why we named the palace that?"

The good Major also enclosed two photos of a warbler I've yet to ID, and a Loch Ness Monster-quality shot of an unknown otter, though in fairness otters of any type are next to impossible to photograph. His otter is the subject of the next post. As per usual, all of Major Ed's pics can be seen at his Fotopage. His list of Iraqi birds appears below.

Key
AA = Al Asad Air Base
BD = Camp Blue Diamond
CF = Camp Fallujah
HP = Camp Hurricane Point

95-100% Definite
Cormorant – BD - 04/05 (abundant, After early April, much more sparse on river)
Pygmy Cormorant – BD – 04-05/05 (Regular)
Little Egret – BD- 04-05/05 (Abundant, After early April, much more sparse on river)
Cattle Egret – BD – 04/05 (Rare around the river, but very common reporting in fields)
Little Crake – BD – 3/18/05 (Single, watched 20 yards in front of me)
Coot – AA/BD – 11/04 – 04/05 (Abundant)
Moorhen – BD - 04-05/05 (Regular)
Wood Pigeon – BD/CF - 04-05/05 (Regular)
Rock Dove – AA/CF/BD,etc. (Abundant)
Collard Dove - AA/CF/BD,etc. (Abundant)
Crested Lark – AA (Abundant)
Iraqi Babbler – BD – 04-05/05 (Regular)
Common Babbler – AA – 11/05 – 04/05 (Regular)
Barn Swallow – AA/BD/CF – 04-04/04 (Regular)
White Wagtail – AA - 11/05 – 04/05 (Regular)
White Cheeked BulBul – AA/BD/CF (Abundant)
Black Redstart – AA/BD – 11/04 -05/05 (Common)
Common Redstart – AA Pool - 02/05 – (Rare)
Blue Rock Thrush – AA Pool – 03/05 – (Rare)
Magpie – AA/BD/CF, etc. (Abundant)
Rook – AA 11/04 -03/05 (Abundant)
Hooded/Mesopotamian Crow – BD (Abundant)
House Sparrow (Abundant)
Common Tern – BD – 04-05/05 (Regular)
White Winged Black Tern – BD – 04-05/05 (Regular, Flocks in morning and afternoon flying river)
Blue Cheeked Bee-Eater BD/HP – 05/05 (Regular, many on wire over river)
Night Heron – BD – 05/05 – (Regular- Started coming in much more in May)
Pied Kingfisher – BD – 04-05/05 (Regular)
White Breasted Kingfisher – BD – 04/05 (Rare – Saw maybe five times)
Common Kingfisher – BD – 3/18/05 (Rare – Saw one other time)
Barn Owl – BD – 04-05/05 (Regular at night)
Little Bittern – BD – 04/05 (Occasional, One that I see Occasionally)
Masked Shrike – HP - 04/29/05 (Saw once)
Lesser Gray Shrike – BD 02/05/05 – (Have seen twice. Will probably stay in area)
Common Sandpiper – BD – 04/05 – (Have seen once)
Black Winged Stilt – BD – 01/05/05 – (Saw in flight once)
Spur-Winged Plover – BD – 04-05/05 – (Regular in flight. Once on deck)
Common Swift – BD – 04-05/05 – (regular)
Hoopoe – BD 04/05 – (Occasional)
Red Wattled Plover – BD - 04/05 (Saw once in field outside BD)


These are other birds I have seen. Some quite regularly but I am unable to make a solid identification of them.

Black Kite – BD – (Quite often I see these brown raptors flying low along the river banks. Many times in groups up to four.)
Black Headed Gull – BD 04-05/05 - Abundant Gull on the river and in the trash. Not sure exactly what it is. Very large Gull.
Common Bustard – BD – 04/05 - Large Raptor soaring the river.
Little Gull – 04-05/05 Commonly flying up the river. Occasionally floating with larger gulls. Many seem to have black heads. May even be two smaller types of gulls.
Mistle Thrush – AA – (found near the AA pool. Very distict thrush. Reminded me of a Grey Cheeked Thrush. Difficult to ID particular thrush, but narrowed it down to a few.)
Squacco Heron – Pretty sure of this because it looked distinctly white while flying but then showed more browns when fishing. Medium to small size. Distance from me made me hold off on positive ID.
Marsh Warbler- This abundant warbler along the banks of the Euphrates, in the reeds, looks like a few warblers in the field guide. I can find at any time but to tough to call. I have seen similar looking warbles no where near water.
Laughing Dove – Saw on ground but I am waiting to see in better light

Have Seen But Difficult identification.
European Serin – Saw a yellow and brown sparrow-like bird twice. Very clear sight but not easy to ID out of field guide.
Scrub Warbler – Very close but unaided sightings.
Wren – Same as Scrub Warbler
Warblers in General – I have no less than 6 other warblers but I have been unable to ID them.
Sandpipers and Plovers too far out in the river on pontoons. Unable to ID.
Pipit – Saw in a tree a couple of times. Difficult ID. Pipit seemed closest.

Posted by Bigwig at May 3, 2005 12:30 PM | TrackBack
Postscript:
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