Egypt 7-14 May 2012 by Graeme Joynt

Egypt 7-14 May 2012 by Graeme Joynt with 7 other British birders: Chris Bell, Colin Dodsworth, Tom Francis, Paul Hinley, Stewart Hinley, Chris Sharp & Rich Stephenson.

We covered the coast from Hurghada down to Shalatein, then took the Marsa Alam – Edfu road (no problems with access), spending 2 nights in Aswan and 2 nights at the Nefertari Hotel at Abu Simbel. The return journey to Abu Simbel was the only one where we had to join a convoy, with all other road travel very straightforward.

We had no problems with petrol but diesel was a big issue, with long queues at those stations which had any. If you hire a car at the moment, make sure its NOT a diesel…..anyway, the birds:

Corncrake: 1 at Calimera Habiba hotel, Marsa Alam on 14th
Brown Booby: 1 off Hurghada on 14th
Pink-backed Pelican: 19 at Abu Simbel 11th-12th
Yellow-billed Stork: 76 at Abu Simbel on 12th seems to be a good count
Goliath Heron: 1 at Hamata on 8th, first found feeding well offshore on the reef but coming much closer on the rising tide and later roosting in the mangroves there (though not visible at roost). The rising tide might be better here….
Lappet-faced Vulture: 8 at Shalatein on 9th
Montagu’s Harrier: 3 seen during the week
Honey Buzzard: 1 on the Marsa Alam-Edfu road on 13th
Sooty Falcon: 3 in the Hamata area on 8th and 1 in the Nile Valley on 9th
Spotted Crake: 2 at Abu Simbel on 13th
Little Crake: 1 at Abu Simbel on 12th
Senegal Thick-knee: easy to see (and hear) at Abu Simbel
Greater Sand Plover: 13 in the Hamata/Lahami area on 8th
Three-banded Plover: 2 adults & 2 juveniles at Tut Amon Fish Ponds on 10th, then 2 adults at Abu Simbel on 13th. The last were in a marshy area near the junction with the road to the airport and had both been ringed…..
Kittlitz’s Plover: 5 at Abu Simbel on 12th. We hired a boat and found these birds on an island in the next bay north of Airport Bay. They were obviously nesting there.
Crab Plover: 2 at Hamata on 12th flew to an offshore island
Sooty Gull: easy to see from Marsa Alam southwards
Crested Tern: 1 off Hurghada on 14th
White-cheeked Tern: only seen off Hurghada
African Skimmer: 1 at Abu Simbel on 12th in the same area as the Kittlitz’s Plovers gave us a close range flyby. Brilliant.
Crowned Sandgrouse: a few seen en route to Shalatein and also by the road down to Abu Simbel
African Collared Dove: 2 at Abu Ghusun. We were warned by a friendly local that there may be land mines in this area!
African Mourning Dove: 2 still at Abu Simbel and easy to find
Desert Eagle Owl: an adult and juvenile near Abu Simbel
Egyptian Nightjar: amazing views of up to 5 birds at Abu Simbel. We carried on past the traditional treatment plant site for half a mile or so until we found some great habitat with scattered bushes in the desert. The birds started calling well before dark and gave some incredible views over a prolonged period.
African Pied Wagtail: several pairs from the boat at Abu Simbel
Thrush Nightingale: 1 at Marsa Alam on 8th
House Crow: 2 at Hurgada on 14th. Not sure how regular they are there?