23 Apr 2014

Looking for nightjars and sandgrouse – Abu Arish waste water treatment Ponds

We spent the late afternoon of 5 April until after dusk birding the Waste Water Treatment Ponds with the best area the bushy hinterland and basalt plain area near the last and cleanest lake and the small stream runoff areas. There is extensive vegetation in these areas and many bird species can be found. There is, however, a significant issue with this location now and that is it is being destroyed by a quarrying operation with much of the surrounding area already destroyed and large amounts of dust from the operation covering much of the vegetation. The pools still remain and had three Northern Shoveller, two Eurasian Teal, 30+ Glossy Ibis, 100+ Western Cattle Egret and five Squacco Herons. Waders included 20+ Black-winged Stilts, one Common Sandpiper and one Green Sandpiper with other water birds being 10+ Whiskered Terns, Temminck’s Stint, Little Stint, Common Greenshank. The vegetated areas had White-browed Coucal, 15+ Ruppell’s Weaver, ten Arabian Babblers, three White-spectacled Bulbuls, Barred Warbler, several Nile Valley Sunbirds and three Black Bush Robins. Whilst searching the tall vegetation we flushed several sandgrouse that appeared to be Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse but they disappeared before positive identification could be made. This was a pleasant surprise as the area does nt very suitable for the species now the quarrying is in full swing. We stayed at the site until dusk looking for Nubian Nightjar and as soon as dusk approached we had a single Nubian Nightjar by the side of the road. As it got dark, a number (six?) of Nubian Nightjars started calling and over the next hour or so we managed to spotlight another five birds either on the road, the basalt hillside or under vegetation near the road.
Glossy Ibis
Nile Valley Sunbird
Nile Valley Sunbird

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