Day 5, May 17th
Today we didn’t have to drive much and spent more time birding. It was a total change in the habitat and we had a few birds to add to our list.
The pre-breakfast walk didn’t produce many new birds but we enjoyed superb views of Olivaceous Warbler, Syrian Woodpecker, and Red-backed Shrike. After breakfast we started adding the new ones: Dalmatian Pelican, White Pelican, Steppe Buzzard, Penduline Tit, all 3 Marsh Terns and many more. The sighting of the morning and the day must be a pair of White-tailed Eagle which landed on a platform made for nesting terns. We were watching a Marsh Harrier and Yellow-legged Gulls mobbing the Eagles. At the moment when the female White-tailed Eagle took off and the Marsh Harrier started mobbing it you could see the size difference. What a “dwarf” the Harrier was! This was rather intimate with Nature!
Later on we had a few Lesser spotted Eagles and at the picnic tables we had the company of several Gull-billed Terns which had to protect their meal from Yellow-legged Gull. The tern caught a fish and the gull attacked it but at the end the fish went back into water and both birds stayed hungry.
We spent the afternoon onto a wetland reserve with extensive reedbeds. Here we had wonderful views of Glossy Ibis, Spoonbill, Turnstone, Curlew Sandpiper, Ferruginous Duck and Red-crested Pochard. Marsh Harriers were patrolling the area around the local hide offering superb views.
We were about to end the day but I wanted us to stop at one more place: the local saltpans. This proved to be a great decision. At the moment when we arrived we saw this rather peculiar bird with long upcurved bill, horizontal body and short legs…No, it was not a Greenshank…Terek Sandpiper! Wow, wow, wow! The bird stayed right out on the top of a post and then it flew into the water to offer views in flight. Stayed in the water for a few minutes and 5 minutes later it was gone. What a superb timing! This must the bird of the day but we shouldn’t forget the White-tailed Eagles and their Marsh Harriers! And yet again, What a wonderful day!
We had 45 new species for the day making a total of 175 for the trip.