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Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch

23rd May  Dawn saw us on the roadside just east of Birecik checking a site for See-See Partridge.  We scanned the dry fields and wadis but no luck.  With the temperature rapidly rising, we tried an alternative site: a narrow wadi alongside the river Euphrates.  We hadn't walked far when a pair of
See-see Partridges scuttled across the dry hillside in front of us.  Luckily they lingered long enough for great scope views.  This same wadi also provided Desert Lark, Spectacled Bulbul and flyover views of 18 Pintailed Sandgrouse. Pleased with our efforts so far, and with the temperature
in the enclosed wadi now rising uncomfortably, we returned to the shade of the tea garden.  And again failed to find the owl, though Syrian Woodpeckers were added to our yearlist.  We then drove to Halfeti to the north and almost immediately found our target bird, Persian Nuthatch (Eastern Rock Nuthatch).
From here we took a minor road northeast from Birecik across arid farmland in the hope of finding Desert Finch.  After an hour or so of seeing few birds in the now baking heat, we spotted a small drab bird on top of a roadside boulder.  We screeched to a halt just past the bird and
at first couldn't get a clear view of it through the bend of the rear windscreen.  Moving our position, we immediately saw it was a Pale Rockfinch!  This was a bird that had eluded us on our trip here last year and was high on our wanted list.  Luckily the bird was obliging and not only gave
great views but treated us to its bizarre cicada-like song: head back throwing out a high-pitched buzz.  Well pleased with our discovery, we continued and soon found a fine male Desert Finch perched atop a tiny cypress tree in a local cemetery.  You can probably guess what we did next:  yes, it
was back to the tea gardens for the owl, but of course no sign of it, though we continued to do our bit to boost the tea economy of the town.  From here we checked out the gravel pits, no year ticks but as usual plenty of birds and we also met a group of American birdwatchers guided by
Fabrice Schmitt.  We exchanged info and arranged to meet back at the hotel that evening.  This proved to be a good move as Fabrice and his group saw the owl, but not where we'd been looking for it.  It had moved a few hundred yards further south just a few feet beyond where we had quit our


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