Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Other Face of Egypt

Late on Friday we got back safe and sound from Hurghada and The Red Sea, many miles from the shock waves emanating from Cairo and other large Egyptian cities. We acquired great tans from a wonderful holiday, and after two weeks of unbroken warm sunshine at 28 degrees, together with staving off Pharaoh’s Revenge, we felt pretty relaxed about Egypt. Because most other Europeans went home tails between their legs at the first sign of trouble, with mainly German and UK nationals remaining by our second week, the early mornings saw a cessation of hostilities in the “Towels on Sunbeds War”, when the available beds on the deserted beach easily outnumbered potential occupants by five to one.

These unexpected plusses neatly allowed me to head off for a little local birding in the by now extremely quiet but lush, well-watered, green resort of Makadi Bay where Bougainvillea clad buildings greet at every turn. I quickly established a couple of miles local patch that comprised boating wharfs, the beach and numerous garden areas of the many four and five star hotels. The locals tell you that Egypt is 95% sand, where the Red Sea resorts are built on strips of land bounded by sandy shores on one side and desert sand on the other, Hurghada being no exception to that rule. That rather limits the birding unless car hire is taken, but that wasn’t on a couple’s agenda and I found plenty of birding and photographic opportunities with morning and afternoon forays.

Today’s topic is a flavour of the birds I saw in Egypt, and in the next week or two I hope to post more pictures after first catching up with blogging friends everywhere, news from my local patch here in the UK and get in an overdue ringing session.

Common and numerous everywhere in Makadi Bay are Bluethroats, wintering birds from the several races of Europe.


I found lots of ground-hugging Red-throated Pipits skulking about the quiet grassy areas where Cattle Egrets also fed as Kestrels and an Egyptian soldier kept a look-out.

Red-throated Pipit

Red-throated Pipit


Cattle Egret


Egyptian Soldier

The beach and the shore held Western Reef Herons and an occasional Striated Heron, crepuscular in their habits.

Sunrise, Makadi Bay

Striated Heron

Western Reef Heron

More soon, but doesn’t Egypt look a lot better than those television scenes from Cairo?

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