16-30th October 2000

Nile Cruise Luxor—Aswan

Two week package holiday 1week cruise & 1 week hotel based in Luxor staying at the Hotel Isis. The weather was sunny & hot. temp: around 90%F. Local people quite friendly &helpful but there is a certain amount of hassle from Street vendors trying to sell you souvenirs etc.(just be firm with them). Transport (Taxis etc) easily come by (but agree a price first). Currency at time of report was Approx: 5LE Egyptian pounds = £1. Taxi drivers on the whole were mainly honest & did not take advantage or overcharge (any trouble just ask the tourist police to intervene) Telescope was useful on the cruise (but not essential) the cruise boat relatively stable to accommodate use of telescope/tripod.


Arrived Luxor late afternoon on the transfer from the airport, several flights of Egrets going to roost, noticed flocks of 30-40 flying over the fields they were Cattle Egrets, also noticed 2 Black Kites soaring over the town.

Watching the R.Nile & West Bank.6.00/7.15am.
Squacco Herons – at least 10 counted. Grey Herons- 3. Little Egrets 50+ ( several on clumps of vegetation floating down the river). Great- White Egret.- edge of reeds. Spur-w-Plovers- 6 on sandbar. Pied Kingfishers- ( high numbers.) Egyptian Geese – 12 flying upriver.

Crossed over the river to the West Bank & walked along the river bank 7.30/8.30am.
Yellow Wagtails spp- pygmea. Swallows- ( high nos) esp: spp savignii (which is resident & very red underneath almost a different species to our local birds). Hooded Crows- several. Laughing Doves ( several in the Palm trees).

Sandbank in the river holding the following:-
Senegal-thick-Knee – 2 . Redshank-1 Kentish Plovers-3. Hoopoes – 3 ( on farmland).

9.00/13.00pm. Visit to the Valley of Kings/Queens.

Valley of the Kings
Mourning Wheatear- 1 Desert Lark-1 Trumperter Finches-12 ( all in the Vicinity of the rest house). Barbary Falcon, Rock Martins. ( flying around the faces of the sand hills & crags), Long-L-Buzzards –2- (soaring around the tops of the crags). Black Kite- ( over the small encampment).

Valley of the Queens.
Desert Wheatear-1( on the scree slopes).

Countryside between the two sites from the coach.
Hooded Crows- several. Cattle Egrets (several in the irrigated fields), Black-shoulderd-Kites-2m ( sat in bushes), Swallows (high nos: of both species). White Wagtails(4/5 nr all water courses) also several Pied Kingfishers.(similar habitat). Bulbuls ( common esp: near habitation)

15.00/17.00pm R.Nile watching from the boat.
Squacoo Herons –7. Grey Herons –3 Little Egrets-3 Pied Kingfishers –4, Great-w-Egret-1. Little Bittern.- 2j (creeping about in edge of the reeds). Long-l-Buzzard-1 (flew over the boat & across the river). Swallows (several), Little Egrets-(several large groups flying to roost).

Luxor to Esna- (Species seen from the boat as we cruised).
Cattle Egrets-(several in the fields). Little Egrets ( At least 40+ counted at the reed edge or on the clumps of vegetation drifting along with the current). Pied Kingfishers(several). Swallows (high numbers).Squacoo Herons-12. Black-w-Stilts-3.Moorhens-6.Grey Herons-3 Glossy Ibis-14 ( feeding in small marshy area). Purple Heron (flying along the river bank).,Spur-w-Plovers (several pairs where there was any suitable habitat). Hooded Crows (very common). Black Kite.-1 (It was interesting to watch the behaviour of the Crows/Kite as they foraged over the river when they spotted any carrion they would swoop down with their legs extended & pluck it from the water & then take it to dry land to eat it). Shovellers-30. Garganey-15.

Sandbank in the middle of the river: Species seen on it.
Egyptian Geese-35. Greenshanks-3. Black-w-Stilts-10. Redshanks-3. Black-t-Godwits-15. Curlew-1. Common S/pipers-3.White-t-Plovers-2 ( rather non descript until they flew giving good views of plumage eg: long trailing legs striking white tail pattern etc). Hoopoes-3 ( on the river bank). Moored o/night at Esna.


Esna-5.30/8.30am – Moored.
Cattle Egrets (several flocks flying into the surrounding farmland).Little Egrets(several). Grey Wagtail-1 at the waters edge. Hooded Crows(several) Swallows(high nos.) Black Kites-(at least 3 seen over Esna). Swifts/Pallid Swifts-(several of both species flying around the buildings in Esna). Laughing Doves(several in the trees along the promenade).

Small island near to where we were moored – Reed island/muddy edge.
Squacoo Herons-5. Little Egrets-7. Coot/Moorhens-several. Purple Gallinue-1(creeping about edge of the reeds). Grey Herons-3. Spur-w-Plovers-2. Wood S/pipers-3. Dunlin-5, Kentish Plovers-4. Black-t-Godwits-12. Senegal-t-Knees-2., Black-Shouldered-Kite ( sat in bush & then hunting over the centre of the Island – hovering like Kestrel).

Esna-Edfu(cont: the cruise). Species seen from the boat:
Purple Heron-1 flying. Squacoo Herons ( several every piece of floating vegetation had 2/3 birds on it as well as several along the river bank). Whiskered Terns-2 Grey Herons-3. Pochard/Shovellers/Wigeon ( large rafts of wildfowl comprising these species) Montagues Harrier 1m – quartering the farmland along the river bank. Marsh Harriers 2f. Black Kite (being mobbed by Hooded Crows). Short-t-Eagle ( Seen over the sand dunes flying south). Black-w-Stilts-4. Wood S/piper.Common S/pipers3. Spur-w-Plovers 4.

Vicinity of Edfu.
Garganey-(raft of 20 still showing traces of summer plumage).Marsh Harrier-f, Purple Gallinue. Senegal-t-Knees-4(on sandbar). Little Egrets-5. Squacco Herons-9. Osprey-1 (sat on pole eating fish). Black Kite.

Small Inlet (of the main river)
Marsh S/pipers-3. Wood S/pipers-2. Redshanks-6. Black-w-Stilts-6.(also several small waders to far away to identify properly).

Edfu to Aswan.
Grey Heron .Marsh Harrier-f. Greenshanks-4. Common S/pipers-3.Glossy Ibis-12 (feeding in a marshy area). Marsh S/pipers-2. Black-w-Stilts-9. Flamingoes-14 (flying south). Kiltlitze Plovers-2 ( on sand bar) along with Dunlin-6. Redshanks-5. Black –t-Godwits-7. Senegal-t-Knees-2.

Aswan: Full day moored : ( watched the river & adjacent countryside).
Little Egrets-( several on rivers edge & perched on mooring lines along with) Pied Kingfishers. Squacco Herons-5. Black Kite ( patrolled the river regularly) (Small almost black heron flew onto a rock in the middle of the river.scoped it Glossy green back: long narrow bill: yellow legs: yellow lores & white patch behind yellow eye: dark crown: grey shoulders: suffusion of rufous colour on the breast: When it flew across the river looked almost black, small size & neck retracted legs trailing: Checked bird guide – Collins- conclusion) Green-back-Heron aka Staited Heron.

Walked along the Promenade & hotel gardens.
Laughing Doves-(several) Bulbuls 4/5. Little Green Bee-eaters-4 ( flying across open space). Willow Warblers. Chiffchaff. Lesser Whitethroat.

Mid Afternoon:- watching from the moored boat.
Two large raptors in the sky above the Aga Khan mausoleum:- scoped them Griffon Vultures – 2 ( soaring then drifted over the sand dunes). Ravens (assumed to be ) Brown Necked –5 ( sky diving over the monastery) Raptor again picked up on the skyline- scoped Egyptian Vulture, Pallid Swifts (several flying around the buildings).


Aswan(moored boat) 6.00/8.00am
Great –w-Egrets-2 (flying south). Brown –n –Ravens-6 ( flying around the Monastery). Eagle spp ( overall colour dk brown: broad winged: long glides: Prominent fingers: light patches on underwing: white trailing edge to wings: tail appeared to be wedge shape: On checking [ Collins] possibly) Tawny Eagle: Little Egrets-(several) Squacco Herons-3. Pied Kingfishers (several). Kestrel –1

Felucca sail around the islands – landing at the Botanical Gardens.
Gull-billed-Terns- at least 12 counted. Slender-billed-Gull-6. Several Little Egrets / Squacco Herons . Glossy Ibis-10 (all in marshy area) Little Bittern –m (walking edge of reeds).

Botanical Gardens.
Bulbuls-4/5. Turtle Doves-2. Laughing Doves- several. Chiffchaffs. Willow Warblers . Hoopoe-1 Nile-Valley-Sunbirds- 4.

Mid Afternoon sailed to Kom- Obo & Edfu ( seen from the boat)
Glossy Ibis-9 Black-w-Stilts-5. Black-t-Godwits-15. Wood S/pipers-5, Great-w-Egrets-2. Several Little Egrets/Squacoo Herons. (All in the same marshy area). Black Kites-2. Marsh Harrier-f. Gull-billed-Terns-15 (following astern of the boat).

Sand bar in the river:
Spur-w-Plovers-4. White-t-Plovers-2. Dunlin-6.

Large raft of floating vegetation on the river:- holding the following:
Whiskered Terns/ White-w-Black Terns. ( at lease 300c loafing on the reed mat & flying around:- 2/1 in favour of Whiskered Terns). Also large numbers of Wildfowl:- Pochards. Wigeon. Ferruginous Ducks-50. Little Egrets/SquacooHerons (high nos) – on the reed mat. Also numerous small waders ( not identified as busy watching other species impossible to watch everything at the same time).

Black-s-Kite ( watched hovering over farmland), Purple Heron (walking in the reeds along rivers edge) – ( moored to enable sightseers to visit the temple). White Wagtails-(several on the river banks). (moored o/night at Edfu).


Edfu to Esna.
Egyptian Geese- 25 (roosting on small island). Little Egrets-(several). Squacco Herons (several).

Large raft of vegetation floating on the river:- following species on it .
Black-w-Stilts-5. Wood S/pipers-3. Kentish Plovers- 4. Grey Heron-2. Whiskered Terns-200c.(roosting & flying around). Ringed Plovers-4. Kentish Plovers-3. KittlitzsPlovers-2. Great-w-Egret. LittleEgrets & Squacco Herons( several of each species). Marsh S/pipers-2.

Further down river passed a large sand bar :- following species on it.
Senegal-t-Knees-3. Spur-w-Plovers-5. Greenshank-3. Redshank-2.

Cont: downriver. Wildfowl :- raft of 2/300 comprising of the following: Pochard. Wigeon.Tufted Duck. Ferruginous Ducks.

Esna late afternoon moored waiting to go thro the lock system
Black Kite. Hooded Crows( several). Pied Kingfishers(several). Little Bittern-m ( walking along the edge of reeds on small islet). Yellow Wagtails-2 (flew over the boat). Hoopoe-1(on banking). Swallows (high nos). Pallid Swifts/Swifts (several flying around ). Laughing Doves 3/4. Kestrels-2 ( over the town).

As dusk fell watched several flocks of Little Egrets/Cattle Egrets flying to roost quite impressive.

Esna to Luxor :- sailed overnight : End of the Nile Cruise. A very relaxing weeks holiday I personally forfeited some of the excursions to the archaeological sites in favour of staying on the boat & birdwatching & I was not disappointed it was really interesting & rewarding.

Luxor staying 1week at the Hotel Isis:-

Hotel very good & staff pleasant & helpful. Gardens at the rear backing on to the R.Nile giving good views of the west bank. & the surrounding countryside.


Luxor:- moored boat watching the river 5.30/8.30am
Black Kites-( at least 3 birds seen).Little Egrets (several). Pied Kingfishers –5. Squacoo Herons ( 5/6 edge of the river on the west bank). Spur-w-Plovers-2. Hoopoes –2. ( on the embankment).

Reed mats floating down river:- Greenshanks-2. Black-w-Stilts-4. Wood S/pipers-3. Hooded Crows (several). Cormorants- 12 flying south. Swallows- high nos:

9.15am walked into Luxor & visited Luxor Temple
Bulbuls. Willow Warblers. Chiffchaff. Lesser Whitethroat. Sardinian Warbler. Laughing Doves. White Wagtails (seen along the promenade & gardens).

Temple area:- mid morning:
Black Kite (soaring overhead). Kestrels-2. Hse Sparrows (every where). Crested Larks-3. Northern Wheatears-3. Hooded Wheatear-m. Little Green Bee-eaters-6 ( on the wires especially over open ground). (Difficult to birdwatch due to the number of tourists in the vicinity).

PM transferring from the cruise boat to the hotel ( no birdwatching done).


Spent the next few days relaxing /sunbathing in the hotel grounds only went birdwatching early morning in the gardens of the various hotels.

Species seen
Nile-v-Sunbirds ( gardens of the Hotel Isis & Sheraton Hotel). Blue-cheeked-Bee-eater-6 ( Hotel Isis gardens flew in & landed in a tree just in front of us). Bulbuls-several. Blackcap.Willow Warblers. Chiffchaff. Sardinian Warbler. Hoopoes-2 (Hotel Isis gardens). Also 3 in grounds of the Sheraton Hotel. Black Kites-2/3(flying around the town on a regular basis). Kestrels-2. Laughing Doves (several). Hooded Crows. Yellow Wagtails (waters edge). White Wagtails-5/6. Rock Martins (flying around the top stories of the hotel)


Crocodile Island:- ( taxi from the hotel = 10 LE/£2 to the checkpoint on the bridge then walked over the bridge & on to the canal embankment & walked round the perimeter along the canal towards the R Nile & thro the garden area of the hotel grounds – 8.00am/13.00pm).

Species seen:- Little-Green-Bee-eaters-10 ( on wires near the checkpoint). Hoopoes-( counted at least 15 as we walked around ). Bulbuls (several). Cattle Egrets –9. Spur-w-Plovers 3/4prs. Pied Kingfishers (several). Squacoo Herons-20+. Little Egrets-15+. Grey Herons-4. Lanner Falcon-( flew across the fields being harassed by Hooded Crows). Marsh Harriers-2f. Black Kite (seen regularly). Black-w-Stilts-5. Wood S/pipers (several). Black-t-Godwits-8. Greenshanks-3.

Near to the Hotel marina found a small inlet area with a medium size reedbed.
Purple Gallinue-(skulking in reed base came into the open good views). Purple Heron ( adult walking just in front of us giving brilliant views). Yellow Wagtails. Gracefull Warblers-3/4. Fan-t-Warblers( in scrub area). Clamorous-reed-Warbler. Little Egrets/Squacoo Herons (very close). Little-g-Bee-eaters-20+ ( sat in bush & kept sallying forth after insects). Absolutely brilliant to watch: Glossy Ibis-6 (flying south). Egyptian Geese-45 (flying south).


Futher visit to Crocodile Island:- 6.30am/15.00pm. Walked up the canal thro farmland area:
Species seen.
Turtle Doves-2. Laughing Doves-several. CrestedLarks-4.Short-t-Larks-3. Spanish Sparrows-( flock of 20c with some nice males). Goldfinches. Black-s-Kites-2 (sat in bush & hovering). Marsh Harrier-f.

Squacoo Herons(several). Purple Heron (flying). Grey Herons-3. Little Bittern-m(walking around the base of reedbed). Green-b-Heron ( crouched down on floating reed mat). Pied Kingfishers.

Sandbar in middle of canal.
Spur-w-Plovers-2/3prs. Dunlin-5. Black-w-Stilts-6. Kentish Plovers-6. Kittlitzs Plovers-2. White-t-Plovers-2 (that flew away as approached). Snipe( flushed). Senegal-t-Knees-4.

Walked back thro farmland & cultivated garden area:
Hobby-m ( appeared chasing dragonflies). Small/medium size raptor flew in front of us only managed to get a Fleeting glimpse. Falcon like in appearance:- Dk grey above : very light underneath : dk wing tips: narrow scythe like wings; short tail;- Levant Sparrowhawk??.

Garden area:-
Nile-v-Sunbirds-4 (feeding on flower blossom). Little-g-Bee-eaters-6 (catching insects). Laughing Doves (several). Willow Warblers. Chiffchaff.


Luxor:- watched the river & west bank from garden terrace in hotel grounds Morning only.
Little Egrets-7/8. Squacoo Herons(several along the west bank). Black Kites-2/3. Pied Kingfishers(several). Cattle Egrets –5/6 (in the fields). Swallows(high nos). Spur-w-Plovers-3/4prs(on suitable dry areas) also Hoopoes-3. Hooded Crows(several). Grey Herons-2. Great-w-Egret-1.

PM ( Transfer to airport & journey home).

A very enjoyable & relaxing fortnights holiday with excellent birdwatching in beautiful surroundings . The highlight to me personally was Crocodile Island where the birds were so near it was unbelievable:- it is a birdwatchers & photographers’ paradise. Definitely worth a return visit & I will certainly be going back

Egypt 2000:- List of species seen.

Cormorant. Egyptian Geese. Widgeon. Teal. Garganey. Shoveller. Pochard. Ferruginous Duck. Tufted Duck. Flamingoes. Little Egret. Grey Heron. Purple Heron. Great-w-Egret. Cattle Egret. Squacoo Heron. Green-backed-Heron(aka-Straited Heron). Little Bittern. Gossy Ibis. Osprey. Black-shouldered-Kite. Black Kite. Griffon Vulture. Egyptian.Vulture. Short-toed-Eagle. Marsh Harrier. Montagues Harrier. Levant Sparrowhawk??. Long-legged-Buzzard. Tawny Eagle??. Kestrel. Hobby. Lanner Falcon. Barbary Falcon. Purple Gallinue. Moorhen. Coot. Snipe.Black-t-Godwit. Curlew. Redshank. Marsh S/piper. Greenshank. Wood S/piper. Common S/piper. Dunlin. Senegal-thick-Knee. Black-winged-Stilt. Ringed Plover. Kittlitzs Plover. Kentish Plover. Spur-wing-Plover. White-tail-Plover.Slender-billed-Gull. Whiskered Tern White-w-Black Tern. Gull-billed-Tern. Turtle Dove. Laughing Dove. (aka Palm Dove). Swift. Pallid Swift. Pied Kingfisher. Little-green-Bee-eater. Blue-cheek-Bee-eater. Hooded Crow. Brown-n-Raven. Hooded Wheatear. Northern Wheatear. Mourning Wheatear. Desert Wheatear. Rock Martin. Swallow. Crag Martin. Bulbul. Fan-tail-Warbler. Clamorous-reed-Warbler. Willow Warbler. Chiffchaff. Blackcap. Lesser Whitethroat. Sardinian Warbler Desert Lark. Crested Lark. Short-toed-Lark. House Sparrow. Spanish Sparrow White Wagtail. Yellow Wagtail. Grey Wagtail. Nile-valley-Sunbird. Trumpeter Finch. Goldfinch.

J.W. Bateman,
Tel: (01524) 841347

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