Cairo & Dahab (Sinai)

Birding in Cairo was pretty much only "drive-by" birding or what could be seen from the hotel but a fair amount of species was seen. Due to circumstances in Dahab I missed out on a desert safari so missed a load of the planned specials there.

Staying on the island of Zagalek in Cairo, the most common birds were Hooded Crows, House Sparrows and Turtle Doves with the occasional Laughing Dove around. One morning there were Yellow-vented Bulbuls (no idea where they were the other mornings) and a lone Kestrel. At the pyramids there was a Buzzard being harassed by the Hooded Crows.

The drive down to Saqqara goes along a wide channel and this proved more productive with Cattle Egret, Crag Martin, Little Egret (from what I saw it wasn't Western Reef Egret), a juvenile Squacco Heron, Spur-winged Lapwing, Egyptian Swallow (the Egyptian sub-species of Barn Swallow) and White Wagtail. Lunch on the one of the Nile river-boats in Cairo produced Pied and White-breasted Kingfisher, White Wagtail and Mallards - no sign of the Northern Pintails I'd heard were so abundant.

Down in Dahab there were some worth-while sightings too and even a couple of photo opportunities. The Osprey perched on the police station's antenna was a daily regular, albeit not popular with the cops as it defecates straight onto the entrance. The other usual suspects- Hooded Crows and House Sparrows were abundant and one had to hunt for anything else.

A pair of Western Reef Egrets visited the shoreline in front of our restaurant every morning giving the opportunity to see up close the difference in leg colour and bill shape and colour with that of Little Egret.

One morning early I came across a bunch of Spanish Sparrows further north of Dahab town as well White Wagtail and Laughing Dove. Singular surprises came in the form of a pair of Northern Pintails in the bay north of Dahab and a leisurely fly-by of a White-eyed Gull. The next day a Caspian Tern came cruising past. The highlight was a pair of Rough-legged Buzzards flying in from the north of the Gulf of Aqqaba (the gulf where Dahab is located and Saudi Arabia is the opposite shore).

On the 2nd Nov I drove with somebody to Cairo overland across Sinai - looking out for anything interesting was rather difficult at speed but at the one checkpoint, I was rewarded with Fan-tailed Raven.


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