AQABA – PETRA – WADI RUM, JORDAN
November 5 - 14 1999
My name is Jimmy Mc
Donnell from Dublin, Ireland. The following is a birding summary of a ten
day trip I took to Aqaba, Jordan – the main focus of the trip was Scuba
diving. If you’d like more details drop
me a line .
Petra is situated between
Amman and Aqaba (2 –3 hour drive from Aqaba). It is an ancient Nabatean
city carved from the cliff faces of a series of gorges and mountains. It
is well worth spending at least a day there – not necessarily for the birding.
The place is breathtaking literally – so take an extra lung along! The
High Place is apparently the best place for BOPs and in general the higher
ground throughout Petra proved more rewarding for birding – possibly connected
to the fact that fewer people made the effort to climb.
Black Redstart 1
Desert Lark – common
Fan-tailed Raven –
Yellow Vented Bulbul
Rock Martin – common
Great Grey Shrike 1
Golden Eagle 1 – seen
over ‘The High Place’ – late in day , four large BOP’s seen by other members
of the group in same place.
Scrub Warbler 2
Mourning Wheatear 1
Aqaba is a port town
situated on the Red Sea. It offers little in the way of good birding habitat.
I tried to get to the border crossing with Israel but was unable
to get clearance from the local authorities – apparently this area does
contain more suitable habitat for migrant passerines and waders. Nonetheless
the area running alongside the promenade has some cover and had good numbers
of Willow Warblers. Indian House Crow, Tristrams Grackle and White Wagtails
are very common throughout Aqaba. There are also other areas of cover towards
the Isreali border but outside the military zone.
In truth the main concern
of my holiday was Scuba Diving and I did not devote a lot of time to birding
in the Aqaba area. The diving is typical of the Red Sea with pristine coral
and abundant tropical reef fish. The water was warm (24C) but given the
duration of our dives (upto 95 mins) I found the long johns of my 7mm semi-dry
just about right. The diving is easy with superb visibility and not many
other dive groups about. Jordan has only 15km of coastline so it’s a well
preserved treasure. The food in the resort is good ( I’d recommend the
Yacht Club) – not for local atmostphere but for excellent food.
West of town
Centre (towards Israeli border)
Collared Dove 2
White Wagtail – plentiful
Indian House Crow –
Black Redstart 1
Yellow vented Bulbul
Wadi Rum is less than
an hour from Aqaba. This is the land of Lawrence of Arabia and the Seven
Pillars of Wisdom. It is desert scenery at its most breathtaking and is
well worth the visit. This was Day 2 of a two day break from diving at
Aqaba (the first spent at Petra). Ii you’ve only one day to spare in Jordan
choose Petra. The birds are well scattered and not so numerous but if you’re
quiet and just sit there its surprising what you’ll see.
White crowned Wheatear
Rock Martin 1
Vulture spp 4 – very