Warren has been filing quick posts during his six-week reporting assignment in Iraq....
I'm actually not in Baghdad (or Kansas) anymore. Am spending three to four days in northern Iraq, the primarily Kurdish region of the country. Today, we were in the cities of Kirkuk and Irbil, from where I'm now posting.
I've added a couple of new birds to my slowly growing Iraq list in the last couple of days.
The first was (Eurasian) Magpie, a common species, but way cool nonetheless with its long streamer tail and shocking white wing patches. Saw a couple of those in the city of Suliemaniyah yesterday.
Then this afternoon, we were stopped in the line of cars at a checkpoint (part of life in Iraq), when out the window I saw something that looked a bit different than all the Eurasian Collared-Doves everywhere. It's amazing, no matter where you are in the world, those birding instincts kick in. What is it? hmm.. look quickly: long tail, pointy wings, accipter-like. Kind of ... kestrel-like. Look for a flash of color if you can find it. And it's gone.
Even without seeing much color on the bird, it was an easy call with the long, long tail and wing shape: Eurasian Kestrel. It helps that I've seen the bird before, in Egypt I think.
Checkpoints are good for birding. You have time to look around while you are waiting.. to ... be .. checked.