September 28, 2008

Sunday Pick-Nick and such

While on a picnic with SIL (sister in-law) somewhere northeast in the mountains of Lebanon, in a region called Koura, we ran into a multitude of hunters.
It is the bird migrating season right now. More than 500 million birds pass over the Middle East twice a year in the autumn and spring on their way from Asia and Europe to Africa and back again.
I doubt many of those will make it if they pass over Lebanon. Every idiot in the village was out with a gun. We tried to find a quiet pick nick spot, but they were literally shooting up the entire neighborhood.

Isn’t it against the law?” tried my sister in-law, while passing a hunter on a small country road that blocked our way as he was aiming into the sky...
What is?” asked the guy. BANG!!
Well, hunting.”
Where have you been living?” came the reply.

We hadn’t even gotten around him when one fell right next to us. The man was about to snap its little neck when the kids created an incredible pandemonium. Now what was that bad man going to do? Kill a bird? Ohooh noooo! Tears, screams and moaning escaped from the vehicle, and the man had little choice but to let the thing go.
Not only did he have to let it go, we had to safe it. And so we were stuck with a lame bird on our pick nick. It’s a really pretty bird, shot in the wing. I’m not sure what to feed it, and so we’ll see if we can get it to a birdwatcher tomorrow. (Anyone in Beirut?)
The north is olive grove country. Hills with terraces filled with olives. The hills are chalk white, and the colors are real pretty.
We finally found - after many kilometers on white chalked off- roads and through olive groves - a quiet spot, far away from the hunters, in a dried up canyon of the Jaouz River.
It wasn’t a very tranquil pick nick however, because the first thing they picked up was a nasty greenish centipede, and then one smart-ass in the family had to lecture us extensively on the danger of flash floods in canyons of dried up rivers, especially since it has been raining quite a bit these last two days. We did not budge. We told him we had heard of people getting swept away by flash floods in Egypt, Jordan and Israel, but never in Lebanon.
You don’t die of flash floods in Lebanon. The thought alone is preposterous. We’re way too glamorous for that. And then when we drove home we got stuck in the ever-lasting traffic jam of Jounieh.
So how was your Sunday?

Update: It’s a rainbow bee eater, 'just programmed to catch things on the wing. Once an insect lands the bee-eater ignores it, even if in plain sight. Bee-eaters are almost strictly predators on flying insects.’ (source). Any suggestions how to heal a broken wing?


Anonymous said...

The bird looks nice, but what does it taste like?

Anonymous said...

Mooie foto's Siets.
Was vandaag bij Wild Jordan. Mooie eco-lodges.

Merei said...

Mijn beste vriendin heeft een kauwtje met gebreuken vleugel gerepareerd: op advies van de vogelbescherming de vleugel ingetaped voor twee weken. Daarna voorzichtig losmaken en langzaam zou hij het weer moeten doen.

Maar een schotwond, nee, dat ben ik hier nog niet tegengekomen..

Merei said...

PS: met schilderstape!

Ji said... you still want to know more about this bird?
it s called a "Warwar" :) in Lebanese slang and "Guepier" in french...and it s not a migrating bird to my knowledge...
beautifull birds, fly like an arrow in groups...they emit a typical sound, like to fly in cloudy weather, are attracted by woodfires and smoke where they find escaping insects to eat...
i could help you save it. let me know on this posts' comments.

Anonymous said...

Dakhlak ya tayr el werwar...

I had the same experience a few days ago, and said "I wish I can go into that valley and shoot them all"
The birds?
No, the hunters

Anonymous said...

considering that bird flu is all over the place it would be advisable not to let your children play with wild birds.

Anonymous said...

yes, very irresponsable mother you are! picknick in a flash flood area, and then play with birds!!!

Fred said...

Thank you 'irresponsable mother' for shifting our attention to this topic.
While everyone discusses politics, whatever is left from our nature is silently fading away ...

Anonymous said...

Bird has been taped up (dank aan Merei), and is being fed bees by a birdwatcher in the neighborhood, and will be turned loose in the Aamiq Bird Reserve in the Beqaa Valley once it can fly again.