A week when Bastion became dangerous!

Birding reports from from our rep in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
Lesser Spot Finder
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Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2007 11:25 am
Location: Farnborough and anywhere between there and Norfolk
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A week when Bastion became dangerous!

Postby Lesser Spot Finder » Sun Mar 18, 2012 5:04 am

The week was marred by a suicide bomber on the runway of Bastion which subsequently increased the security levels which, in turn, limited movement around the base; my birding was mostly then within the confines of Camp 508. Rumours of further roving suicide bombers proved unfounded although one poor chap was knocked over by the airfield bomber.

A pair of Laughing Doves appear to have made their home in Camp 508 with almost daily sightings along with a pair of Common Myna which may be prospecting around the Quartermasters Department and 508. Swallows have increased with daily sightings, most flying westwards

Turkestan Shrikes have been found almost daily but favour the area around the airfield. On the 13th I had cracking views of a male Variable Wheatear on the welfare tent aerial and then ignored a CSM mid conversation as a male Turkestan Shrike landed on barbed wire just over his shoulder.

The only Hoopoe of the week was seen on the morning of the 16th over the cookhouse and this bird was immediately followed by two calling Lesser Kestrels over 508 and into the Quartermasters compound; the fast wing beats of this species and smaller size was evident, even from a distance.

Yesterday started with the two Common Mynas and, as the security state was reduced; I was joined late afternoon by Bearskinned Birdwatcher, an AOS member within the Battalion, and visited Runway’s End Marsh where I found him four new species – Southern Grey Shrike, Daurian Shrike and six Spanish Sparrows. A lone warbler flitting around the reeds proved to be the first Booted Warbler of this trip.

Lesser Spot Finder
Posts: 230
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2007 11:25 am
Location: Farnborough and anywhere between there and Norfolk
Contact:

Postby Lesser Spot Finder » Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:43 am

We were allowed to run again today following a week of no PT during to the ongoing security measures. I ran my usual 6 mile circuit, picked up a female Kestrel whilst I headed south and on the northern leg back towards Bastion 2 I heard the distinct song of a male Greater Hoopoe Lark and caught it as it parachuted down. The sound was very much as described by Geoff McMullan during the 'Birds and the Battlefield' Radio 4 programme. This bird however was a bit flat and was certainly not akin to James Galway. A beautiful song though. LCpl Rai, the bloke I ran with, seemed less impressed!


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