Tripreport Southern Red Sea Coast/ Egypt, September/ October 2016

HemprichmöweIntroduction

Mid of July 2016 we decided to visit the southern Red Sea Coast of Egypt. The main reasons of the trip, were to relax in the sun in early fall and to see some Western Palearctic specialities

in an interesting and not very often visited region during fall migration. With this in mind we booked a two-weeks charter .

We stayed at the Gorgonia Beach Resort just 2km north of the famous  but old-fashioned Shams Alam Resort Hotel (SARH) at the northern boundary of Wadi el Gemal National Park.

We visited the following birdwatching locations:

Berenice (BE)

Gorgonia Beach Resort (GBR)

Wadi el Gemal (WG)

Hamata Mangrove (HM)

Qu’laan Islands (QI) 1x, a tourist boat visited 3 islands on a snorkeling trip

Lahami Bay Hotel (LBH)

Shams Alam Resort Hotel (SARH)

Bir Shalatayn (BS), close to the border of Sudan.

Species list

Striated Heron (Butorides striatus)

2 seen in front of GBR

Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)

uncommon. Seen only on WG delta

Western Reef-Egret (Egretta gularis schistacea)

common. Seen every day; all seen along the coast, some moulting

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

almost every day passing in flocks in the thirties along the coast; in the flocks of Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) sometimes Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) included

Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea)

Within flocks of Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea); During the visit to Hamata Mangrove 6/10 it took us about five minutes before we flushed 2 birds in the southernmost part of the mangroves. We first thought of Goliath Heron (Ardea goliath). The birds flew a few hundred meters north to a small reef and disappeared.

Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)

common, Seen in small groups on WG delta and HM

Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)

quite common. Seen in flocks of Garganey (Anas querquedula) passing the coast; 1 non-breeding male on WG delta

 

Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)

1 non-breeding male passing GBR during low tide in dusk only 20 meters swimming in front of beach

 

Garganey (Anas querquedula)

flocks were passing the coast almost every day

 

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)

common, passing the coast almost every day, abundant on QI; still breeding

 

Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus)

8 around BS water pipe 6/10

 

Lappet-faced Vulture (Torgos tracheliotus nubicus)

3 around BS 6/10. It is a tough and exhausting getting there, read more in the blog

 

Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

strong migration along the coast, mainly in the morning with many immatures and some adult

 

Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus)

at least 1 adult male migrating low over coastal desert near WG, more white-rumped Harriers occured

 

Montagu’s Harrier (Circus pygargus)

at least 1 adult female migrating low over coast near WG, more (at least 4 ind.) white-rumped Harriers occurred

 

Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)

common in Hotel gardens, seem at least partially hunt on resting passerines

 

Sooty Falcon (Falco concolor)

common – mainly in pairs – on delta of WG, several pairs on QI, end of breeding season but some pair apparently on the nest

 

Lanner Falcon (Falco biarmicus tanypterus)

One pair seemed to be resident north of GBR, another pair was seen hunting near WG

 

Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)

A skulker, but if flushed by accident, surprisingly common in hotel gardens

 

Crab Plover (Dromas ardeola)

common near mangroves, young and adult seen in small numbers on HM

 

Grey (Black-bellied) Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)

not uncommon

 

Common Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)

not uncommon along whole coast

 

Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius)

on the green grounds on LBH together with pipits and wagtails

Kentish (Snowy) Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)

not uncommon along whole coast

 

Mongolian Plover (Charadrius mongolus)

1 ind. On corals north of GBR

 

Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii)

not uncommon along coast, numerous near HM

 

Spur-winged Lapwing (Vanellus spinosus)

on the green grounds on all hotels together mainly with Ruffs, sometimes with pipits and wagtails

 

Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)

1 ind. near HM

 

Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata)

1 ind. flying in between QI-islands

 

Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)

1 ind. flushed on last day (8/10) from WG-delta

 

Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)

in the shade near green grounds on LBH

 

Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)

not uncommon on corals or rocky  jetties

 

Little Stint (Calidris minuta)

regular on WG-delta

 

Dunlin (Calidris alpina)

1 ind. one day from WG-delta, feeding with Little Stints

 

Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)

at least 5 ind. in the gardens of GBR starting from 27th of September

 

White-eyed Gull (Larus leucophthalmus)

common, with focus on northern sites

 

Sooty Gull (Larus hemprichii)

More common than White-eyed Gull, in contrast to stay near Safaga in 05/2005

 

Slender-billed Gull (Larus genei)

1 ind. near HM, a flock near Hamata port

 

Caspian Tern (Sterna caspia)

common throughout

 

Lesser Crested-Tern (Sterna bengalensis)

common, only ind. Near shore

 

White-cheeked Tern (Sterna repressa)

common, most ind. off-shore, 1st winter ind. Might be misidentified with Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

 

Bridled Tern (Sterna anaethetus)

common, all ind. off-shore, best on OI

 

Spotted Sandgrouse (Pterocles senegallus)

The only flock of 5 ind. South of BE along the road

 

European Turtle-Dove (Streptopelia turtur)

1 ind. In a flock with Laughing Doves in GBR

 

Tame Dove (Columba livia domesticus)

uncommon, only seen in urban settlements and SA

 

African Collared-Dove (Streptopelia roseogrisea)

1 bird were positively identified near the known site close to Shams Alam Resort

 

Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)

common and seen daily.

 

Laughing Dove (Streptopelia senegalensis)

Very common in gardens; seen daily.

 

Namaqua Dove (Oena capensis)

quite common throughout

 

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)

1 ind. at WG delta

 

European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)

only in total 3 ind. over gardens of GBR

 

European Roller (Coracias garrulus)

1 ind. over GBR

 

Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops)

Not uncommon

 

Eurasian Wryneck (Jynx torquilla)

1 ind. at WG delta, very secretive

 

Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio)

common in gardens of hotels, mainly juv.

 

Masked Shrike (Lanius nubicus)

1 ind. at WG delta, not shy

 

Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix)

quite common in gardens of hotels

 

Brown-necked Raven (Corvus ruficollis)

common

 

Greater Hoopoe-Lark (Alaemon alaudipes)

En route to Bir Shalatein, close to BE

 

Greater Short-toed Lark (Calandrella brachydactyla)

quite common, mainly in early morning

 

Sand Martin (Riparia riparia)

some seen in fixed flocks of swallows

 

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica rustica)

common, hundreds seen daily

 

Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)

common in every bush

 

Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)

not as common as congener

 

Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)

1,1 in gardens SARH

 

Garden Warbler (Sylvia borin)

1 ind. GBR

 

Lesser Whitethroat (Sylvia curruca)

abundant

 

Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)

abundant

 

Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus)

common

 

Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra)

common

 

Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe)

on various occasions

 

Desert Wheatear (Oenanthe deserti)

twice during whole stay

 

Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina)

a pair once in desert north of GBR

 

White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)

started to arrive only on 1st Oct; after that common in gardens; seen daily.

 

Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava)

very common in gardens; seen daily

 

Tawny Pipit (Anthus campestris)

1 ind. on salty ground near NP-HQ of WG

 

Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis)

common in gardens only the last 3 days

 

Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus)

uncommon in gardens; seen every 3rd day

 

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

rather common in gardens

 

For some years it seems to be almost impossible to spend a decent time in the desert. One offer, we checked turned out to be expensive and we were said to be back in the hotel far before sunset. Thus, unfortunately, we missed the Megas like Pharaoh Eagle-Owl (Bubo ascalaphus) and Hume’s Owl (Strix butleri).

In total 83 species of birds. Not really exciting for two weeks; spring near Safaga in 2005 was much more productive in sheeer numbers of species!

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