A big cultural day today for the team, the incredible Nabatean ruins at Petra being the focus of our attention. Although I enjoyed the ruins, I kept an eye out for Sinai rosefinches and eventually found a pair a short way up the trail to the monastery. My first male!
Incredibly down at the restaurant I bumped into Mike (and Ginny) Edgecombe, they were travelling with John and Jane Gregory. Amazingly the last time I had seen this birding duo together had been at a similar chance meeting at Angkor Wat in Cambodia! The upshot of all this was that we arranged to go owling together in the evening. Two nights ago at Dana village I had been lucky enough to see my first Hume's owl and Mike was green with envy. Could we see some more?
Mike and John Gregory picked me up and we headed down to Little Petra. A side wadi drew my attention and we wandered down it. John played the 'tape', we got an immediate response and before long they were happily watching their lifer Hume's owl. The responding bird was a female and before long the deeper song of the male was heard and he eventually flew in to join the female in the defense of their territory. We spent a good ten minutes watching these birds and Mike got some reasonable images, the best of which I will post when he sends it.
Although they reacted positively to a new owl, I could not get Mike and John to appreciate the splendour of Bufo viridis. Birders!
Before too long the local bedouin arrived and we negotiated a price to be guided to another territory hoping for closer views. A nearby wadi produced another pair, but the views were more distant and the birds drifted off relatively quickly. Still four Hume's owls in an hour was a great result and we returned happily to a bar in Wadi Musa to celebrate. A good day.