Since a year it is possible to visit Algeria again after many years of political instability. We had a five days trip with Karim Haddad. He is chef of the Algerian Nuthatch Sitta ledanti,
one of the most enigmatic endemics of the Western Palearctic.
So from 18 to 24 June I went with Enno Ebels and Lodi Nauta to try for the nuthatch. We flew via Istanbul where we had a morning birding with Timur Caglar. An early start at the Bosporus produced Yelkouan Shearwater Puffinus yelkouan
, which was a new species for me. Quite spectacular as a few thousand birds flew back and forth...The rest of the morning produced some Black Storks Ciconia nigra,
Ortolan Buntings Emberiza hortulana
and a Golden Jackal Canis aureus...
In Algeria we concentrated on the north-east of the country around Constantine, formerly known as Cirta, the capitol of Numidia in ancient roman times. We visited among others Djimla forest, the gorge of Constantine and the the area of Biskra at the borders of the Sahara.
We saw all the specialities we wanted: Barbary Partridge Alectoris barbara, Maghreb Owl Strix mauritanicus,
Levaillant's Woodpecker Picus vaillanti
, Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopus major numidius, Tunesian Jay Garrulus glandarius cervicalis, Algerian Jackdaw Corvus monedula cirtensis
, a spectacular endemic of Constantine!!), Maghreb Short-toed Treecreeper Certhia brachydactyla mauritanica
, Moussier's Redstart Phoenicurus moussieri,
Common Bulbul Pycnonotus barbatus,
Saharan Scrub Warbler Scotocerca s saharae, Ambiguous Reed Warbler Acrocephalus beaticatus ambiguous,
African Desert Warbler Sylvia deserti, Atlas Pied Flycatcher Ficedula speculigera,
African Blue Tit Cyanistes ultramarinus
, Tunesian Coal Tit Periparus ater ledouci, Algerian Nuthatch Sitta ledanti, Atlas Crossbill Loxia curvirostra poliogyna
and Greenfinch Chloris chloris chlorotica/voousi
The biggest problem in Algeria is the fact that one cannot take binoculars into the country. Karim provided some, but these were very low quality ones. That means that one cannot study the birds properly and birding is like using your camera and look at the results as on the picture below.
Due to this it was very difficult to study the crested larks (Crested, Maghreb and Thekla) and the sparrows (House, Spanish and hybrids between them).
Another problem was that my camera didn't work well...Back at home I found out that the camera had a fault that has to be repaired...
putative Maghreb Lark
another putative Maghreb Lark (Enno Ebels)
African Blue Tit (Enno Ebels)
Atlas Flycatcher (Enno Ebels)
Atlas Chaffinch (Enno Ebels)
Ambiguous Reed Warbler (Enno Ebels)
Western Olivaceous Warbler
Maghreb Short-toed Treecreeper
White-headed Ducks (Enno Ebels)
Yelkouan Shearwaters (Enno Ebels)
pure Rock Pigeon? (Enno Ebels)