November 14, 2009

Pelicans over Beirut

I’m on the balcony, making pictures of the clouds. I can never get enough of clouds. Or horizons.
Hubbie joins me and says “Nice birds, eh?”
Birds? I see no birds.
There, those pelicans up ahead,” and he points to something in the sky.
Pelicans? He must be losing it, I think.
Those are no pelicans,” I say, when I finally spot them too. “Those are storks. Storks migrate. Who has ever heard of pelicans in Beirut?
I tell you, those are pelicans.”
He gets out the binoculars, and sure enough, there’s this flock of pelicans circling right above Beirut. We have huge swarms (or flock, I should say) of storks every spring. They soar around on the air current.
But I’d never seen pelicans. White pelicans, to be exact.

The Middle East, located at the juncture of three continents, Europe, Asia and Africa, makes it a region second to none in the world for tracking, research and study of the phenomenon of bird migration. The Middle East is a “bottle neck” for the migration from Europe and to Africa and back. More than 500 million birds pass over the Middle East twice a year in the autumn and spring migration. Source

And apparently the white pelican is quite a common traveler, although it’s the first time in 18 years I’ve seen them in Lebanon. You learn something every day.

They migrate from somewhere in Europe or Asia, to Africa, along the Eastern Mediterranean coast. Beirut is sort of jutting out into the sea, and so if you go in a straight line, you end up right above my neighborhood. You can see that in this shot I took this afternoon while coming down from the mountains. The sea goes around Beirut.
And another one of the Corniche this afternoon at 4:45 P.M. Can never get enough op that one.


m. said...

Great pics. Used to love taking pictures of those scenes, until I got in trouble for having a camera ;)

Now I get to live vicariously off your blog! Lol

angie nader said...

i'm surprised all of the bird hunters disnt shoot them down

Anonymous said...

It is certainly interesting for me to read that blog. Thanx for it. I like such topics and everything that is connected to this matter. I definitely want to read a bit more on that blog soon.

Raffi said...

Ok, your next visit should be to Bekaa. There's a place there where many birds gather for some time and await the time and weather to continue their migration.

I think some groups even organize tours for such amazing ecological events.

Anonymous said...

Why do dutch people INSIST on saying "I was making a picture" when they were actually taking a picture? Seriously! I've noticed it in so many places, please explain it to me!

Anonymous said...

A "picture" in Dutch language refers only to the photograph itself, i.e. the actual negative image on film or either the picture that is eventually produced by the exposure of photographic paper to light a controlled manner. The picture does not refer to the image that one sees in real life.

Apparently in the English language the picture refers to the actual image or its mental image that one sees through the viewfinder of the camera. Such a picture cannot be "made", it is simply there.
Although such a picture cannot be "taken" either, it is a commonly used in modern English to describe the process of transferring the image through the lens on the negative photographic film. Hence the difference.
The difference is easy to understand, but not apparent to those who do not speak Dutch.

Sietske said...

Allright. Now who was that?!? Is it you Hadile, or Barbara? SERIOUSLY now :)

techcrunch said...

lovely lebanon

Liliane said...

great pictures!

Miss Footloose said...

Sietske, beautiful pictures you MADE ;)

I wonder if the person who tried to correct you speaks another foreign language and understands the perils of translation, idioms, etc.

So, Anonymous, here's the explanation and Anonymous 2, there is no chemistry or science involved in this:

It's just that in Dutch you say "een foto maken," which literally means a photo make, or: to MAKE a photo. It's just how it's said. That's all. Same in German: ein foto machen. So when speaking English using the verb to make rather than to take is an easy slip.

Now, let's try Arabic . . .

Sorry, Sietske, I couldn't resist. ;)

Nether said...

@Miss Footloose

Yep. I love the arabs drinking cigarettes :)