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


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)



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)



Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)



Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus)



Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra)



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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