Dinosaur of the week: Desert Lark

IMG_5516 04 desert larks

These two Ammomanes deserti were intensely communicating with each other while I observered them last December in the Sahara near Tamanrasset. The species is classified as least concern on the Red List and apparently under no particular threat. But then, the birds rely on insects during the breeding season, so they’ll soon all be gone.

Thank you to the good people on birdforum.net for their help with the ID.

 

Algeria – Boulders and Birds (Tamanrasset 3/4)

On our second day in Tamanrasset, our fab guide (and the three vehicles of the gendarmerie) took us north-east of the town, passing through fields of plastic rubbish into an area that is best described as boulder country. I don’t know the geological processes which shaped the rock formations to make them look like they do, but it was an awesome place to see.

At some point, our driver stopped near some boulders and we were told to venture in between them and eventually under one of the big stones. There, on the ‘ceiling’ above us, we saw some rock art which is a few thousand years old. I was very tempted to touch it but managed just about to behave myself. I couldn’t resist though feeling in the hole where the old ones must have mixed the paint.

While our guide prepared picnic and tea, we had a look around and admired the landscape and whatever wildlife we could find in it. I was amazed at a fairly vibrant insect life.

Back in the hotel in the afternoon, we spent some time in its garden where we saw more birds. An Egyptian vulture flew by and several silverbills and firefinches had made their home in the garden’s trees and were just lovely to observe. At this point, some thank yous – to the birders on birdforum.net for their help with bird IDs and to our colleague Narimene for making endless phonecalls!

Dinosaur of the week: European Bee-eater

european bee-eater

In late August and in September we had plenty of Merops apiaster in the forest close to our house and also birds flying directly over our roof. The birds’ diet consists largely, but not exclusively, of bees. With the decline in bees and insects in general, well, you can imagine the consequences.