Wednesday 11 April 2012

The Nile Valley

Following our arrival in Hurghada, we undertook a pretty horrendous drive southwest to Aswan. The following day (2nd) was spent concentrating on Tut Amon village, where we eventually connected with a pair of Three-banded Plovers on an island along the margins of Lake Nasser - a nervous search of the fishponds had drawn a blank, although my first Senegal Thick-knees, Clamorous Reed Warblers and aegypticus Black Kites were seen here along with other nice bits such as Temminck's Stint, Purple & Night Herons, Spur-winged Lapwings, Pied Kingfishers, Bluethroat and so on.

A lazy afternoon followed, with quite a bit of sleeping before we enjoyed a 90-minute cruise down the River Nile, courtesy of our ultra-helpful tour guide Yasser (can't recommend him enough for sorting out Nile Valley bits inc. Abu Simbel, please get in touch for his contact details). Here we enjoyed our best views of Nile Valley Sunbirds, Striated Herons, Purple Gallinules, Little Green Bee-eaters, Clamorous Reeds and plenty of other herons, terns and the odd gull.

Digi-binned Clamorous along the Nile

Following morning saw us in the early "convoy" down to Abu Simbel, where we arrived at around 08:00. The African Mourning Doves proved pretty easy to track down (mainly via the call), although stayed in the thickest vegetation and didn't porn it as Legrand/Monticelli's photographs might suggest. A few migrants included Masked Shrikes.

Definitely a case of 'Mourning Glory' for Rich B, this bird propelled him to no.1 in the WP

The Abu Simbel boat trip took in 'Airport Bay' and a few other bays to the north. It wasn't cheap, and we didn't see Pink-backed Pelican nor African Skimmer, but three Yellow-billed Storks showed well as did several African Pied Wagtails. A male Kittlitz's Plover was seen on one of the offshore islands, although not well, and a flock of 18 or so Black-winged Pratincoles delighted us among the more expected waders, terns and gulls. For views, a boat trip out can't be recommended highly enough - well worth it, would be great in summer if all the specialities are there.

Digibinned Abu Simbel specialities

Back in the village, we gorged on seconds of the Mourning Doves and were also charmed by a family of Rock Martins.

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