Friday 1 June 2012

Concorde Race Track, Cairo, May 2012

There was some debate about accessibility to the race track today (Google Earth ref; 30 07' 13"N 31 21' 11"E). A large chap in a grey shirt decided that I should not be wandering aimlessly around the track and he asked me to leave. Upon checking, I found that there was no reason why I shouldn't and I presented myself back to the security guard on the gate who waved me through. It is true to say that I avoided the grey shirt man, so never got to the bottom of his reasons for ejecting me. Presidential elections are in progress and perhaps he was more concerned with the democratic future of his country that the eccentric pursuits of Englishmen. Maybe I was bearing the brunt of Engelbert Humperdinck’s poor showing at the Eurovision Song Contest last night.

I made my way smartly across to the dry centre of the track in search of Senegal Thick-knees which were to be the subject of a 10,000 Birds post. I needed some photographs to illustrate the piece and ran into them almost immediately when a pair flushed about 20 meters ahead.

They flew for about 50 meters and sat out in plain view for a while, then began looking for hiding places as I got closer.

There was more to see than just the Thick-knees with Barn Swallows swooping about close to the ground and three European Kestrels hovering and dive-bombing each other. A Green Bee-eater alighted on a proud twig showing its flight feathers which are not usually visible when it is perched.

There is a lot of earth dumped within the track, often with weeds growing in it or sticks poking out. A Southern Grey Shrike was using one as a perch from which to lauch itself after passing insects. There is also a lot of litter mixed in with the earth mounds. I didn’t notice the syringe until I was editing the pictures back home, so watch your step.

More earth mounds beyond the far straight made good lookout spots for Spur-winged Lapwings who scolded me if I approached too closely.

Birds seen; 11
Eurasian Kestrel 3, Senegal Thick-knee 4, Spur-winged Plover 5, Laughing Dove 45, Green Bee-eater 4, Eurasian Hoopoe 2, Southern Grey Shrike 1, Hooded Crow 40, Barn Swallow 25, Common Bulbul 8, House Sparrow 150.

For a previous post from Cairo's race track, follow the link below;

Visit the dedicated Africa Page  or the Middle East Page for more posts from this region.

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