Sunday, 22 March 2009

Mheimideh – Jewel of the Euphrates

Unashamedly I have taken this title from a note by Dave Murdoch published in the OSME journal Sandgrouse. A great site to the north of Del ez Zor on the Euphrates. It is an ox-bow lake surrounded by villages and is under threat of being drained.

Graham spies over Mheimideh

The locals are familiar with the birds and the kids keen. One boy even came up and was saying ‘ducks, ducks!’ excitedly as he grabbed our scope for a look. The beauty of this site is it is neat, compact and the birds easily viewable. All the locals were friendly (as ever) and had an interest in the wildlife on their doorstep.

The boy who knew ducks

Birds were top notch too – 47 Spur winged plovers, 27 Ferruginous ducks, 19 Marbled Teal, Squacco heron, Red necked Phalarope, 24 Great white Egrets, Isabelline Shrike, Graceful Prinia’s and an assortment of wagtails.

Spur winged plover and Black winged stilt

Ferruginous duck

Marbled teal

The site is under threat from drainage. As such we took a chap from the local agriculture ministry with us and showed him the importance of the site. He was as impressed as we were and he is going to raise the issue of getting protection for the site. This is certainly one for us to work on and keep the pressure up with when we get home.

Black headed wagtail