Birds and Fish of Iraq
Pictures from LTC Bob.
Fall is underway here, and the birds are migrating.
The two pics are of Common Pochards and European Coots, which have arrived in the last couple of weeks – I noticed the Pochards only today on the way back from church. They are actually quite attractive birds – unfortunately, like all other waterfowl, they are spooky as hell, as Greg Williamson told me, the ones that aren’t easily spooked are already dead…Finally got close enough the these skittish ducks to get some decent pictures. The pochards are really pretty birds.
A new bird for me – which is surprising given the continued urbanization of VBC. Either the gulls have changed their migration patterns, or the bigger garbage dump and sewage treatment plants have attracted them to the beautiful Victory Base Complex.
They now rival the giant carp as an attraction here in front of the Al Faw Palace. Lots of the Joes bring bread and other stuff to feed the fish and now the gulls as well.
I think these are Black-headed Gulls, (Larus ridibundus). Birds of the Middle East says “in winter, head white with black spot on ear-coverts and, often, vague bar from eye over crown and from ear-covers rover nape.” And “always dark eye” vs. “iris yellow” for the Brown-headed Gull. I think the gull on the right of the picture has the vague bars mentioned, so I am going with Black-headed.
Identification of gulls is a pain, to tell the truth, because they change so much from year to year as they mature, and from summer to winter as well. I am sure one of the experts will set me straight if I have it wrong. There are some true experts in the address list, as opposed to the extreme amateur status that I hold in the bird watching world.
Not sure what species the carp are. Iraqnas giganticus, maybe.