Thursday, February 19, 2009

Creatures Along the Nile

We have seen half-a-dozen crocodiles so far on our trip. Too bad they were all mummies.

We've heard competing views on the presence of crocs in the Egyptian Nile. One school of thought is that there are no crocodiles remaining north of the High Dam at Aswan. The other school is that a few sneaky crocodiles remain, but you will only see them when it's too late.

What we have seen are birds -- herons, egrets, ibis, lapwings, cormorants, stilts, gulls, kites, gallinules, ducks, and geese. Our favorite? The Pied Kingfisher. These striking birds appear everywhere along the Nile, perching on reeds along the river bank or hovering above the water hunting for dinner. Charmingly, they appear almost always in pairs.

Of course, the dominant creatures along the Nile are livestock. Donkeys (which have remarkably cute faces), water buffalo, and goats are most prevalent, but they are joined by the occasional domestic goose, dog, or, rarely, a camel. So far, the only wild mammal we've seen was a fox chasing little egrets along the water's edge.

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