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Birds of Egypt: “Abu Ghuttaas,” The Pied Kingfisher

A Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis), also known as "Abu Ghuttaas" ("father of those who dunk") sits on the wire hunting for fish in an irrigation canal fed from the Nile River in our rural village in Egypt

A Pied Kingfisher in our rural Egyptian village… (Please click image for more)

Another frequent visitor to our rural little corner of Egypt’s Nile delta is this handsome fellow nicknamed by the birdwatching locals, “Abu Ghuttaas,” loosely translated as “Father of those who dunk.” Ducking under water and coming back up quickly (as the ducks do) is referred to in my husband’s french chocolate tongue as “making ghuts.”

A Pied Kingfisher, this black and white beauty is properly known by his Latin name, Ceryle rudis, but the Ancient Egyptians reportedly called him “cnHb.t” or maybe it’s “cn-nHb.t.” Gutenberg doesn’t tell us how to say it, but is certain this translates into “the one turning around the neck (when hovering above water spying fish),” — I tried very hard to confirm this with the local Ancient Egyptians, but everyone around here insists he is just Abu Ghuttaas.

This particularly handsome bird up on that wire is a male, as he has two bands of black around his neck. Similar to his more strikingly colored cousin, Mr. Fairuz, (Turquoise) the Collared Kingfisher, Abu Ghuttaas loves to hang around our home, hunting for fish in the irrigation canal. All of Egypt’s delta region is watered by a wide network of irrigation canals fed by the Nile River, and we commonly see many little fish swimming around in the canal from our second floor windows.

Abu Ghuttaas favorite fishing canal on our corner in egypt

Abu Ghuttaas’ favorite fishing canal on our corner in Egypt

The electric wires coming to our home provide a perfect perch for many beautiful birds, and I always feel amazingly blessed and thankful to get such a perfect view from our windows. But I go way over the top of that when I get a good clear picture of a beautiful bird!! (or sheep, or donkey…lol)

Pied Kingfishers are not very picky eaters, hovering over water and diving straight down to capture fish, snails, bugs, it’s all good to Abu Ghuttaas. Eating on the wing, so to speak, they can continuously forage without needing to sit down to eat. Here’s a great photo by Karthik Easvur with all the stages of dunking, or “making ghuts,” superimposed on the image — it gives a great illustration of the amazing beauty of this handsome bird in action:

Pied Kingfisher's fishing manoeuvre, combined in a single image, c. Karthik Easvur (Wikicommons)

Pied Kingfisher’s fishing manoeuvre, combined in a single image, c. Karthik Easvur (Wikicommons)

On the other side of our corner, near our garage, are several “Toot” (Mulberry) trees. This must be a favorite hangout for the beautiful birds of Egypt, at least in our rural little corner, anyway — it was up in a nearby Toot tree that I was able to capture a couple of great shots of Cleopatra, the Green Bee-Eater, another favorite of mine. Here’s one more photo of Abu Ghuttaas, perched up in a Toot tree:

Abu Ghuttaas, a Pied Kingfisher, in a Toot (Mulberry) Tree

Abu Ghuttaas, a Pied Kingfisher, in a Toot (Mulberry) Tree… (Please click image for more)

 

You might like to learn more at Wikipedia about Abu Ghuttaas, the Pied Kingfisher, and here’s a YouTube video to watch, too:

Click here for the previous bird in this series: Abu Maghazil, The Spur-Winged Lapwing

 
;^)

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Aisha’s Egypt: The Potter’s Wheel

Egyptian potter with vase on wheel

The Potter’s Wheel
 
Spinning like the Potter’s wheel
Ancient days and ancient ways
Traverse this earth in cycles
 
Spinning into foggy dawn
Recycling into sunset
In boring revolution
 
Time without evolution
Spinning like the Potter’s wheel
Until the potter is gone
 
Swallowed by oblivion
Ancient days and ancient ways
Unnoticed until missing
 
Like faithful dedication
Enduring pain with patience
Or aging gracefully
 
Spinning like the Potter’s wheel
Finally the ancient ways
Spin into eternity
 
 
© 2015 Aisha Abdelhamid
Dedicated to the Potter’s wife, whose husband is now passed away –
May God have mercy on him, his family, and us all.

 
 
A few more photos of the Potter’s workshop, kiln, and pottery for sale:

pottery kiln and workshop and pottery for sale-small
 
 
pottery for sale on table
 
 
potter with vase on wheel-small
 
 
;^)

Aisha’s Egypt: Where Old Ways Stay the Same

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Where Old Ways Stay The Same
 
Where old ways stay the same
There’s usually a good reason
Ways don’t tend to disappear
When shown appreciation
 
Love, good manners, and kind regard
Tend to wither with neglect
Seasons change and pass with time
Transitioning unchecked
 
Until no longer remembered
Until unneeded anymore
Until with unfamiliar face
Love slowly closes the door
 
 
© 2015 Aisha Abdelhamid
;^)

Aisha’s Egypt: Duck Market Day

Aisha's Egypt: Duck Market Day

Duck Market Day
 
Carrying her duck perched high on her head
She’s walking her duck to the market
 
He pokes out his head to get a good look
Observing his fate, sitting patiently
 
He calmly enjoys the view from on high
While the ducks back home view his privileged life
 
As the lucky duck who gets to travel
Escaping the farm with the farmer’s wife
 
How smugly he smiles and proudly displays
His best behavior while riding her head
 
Ignorance is bliss even for a duck
Travelling the world in an orange basket
 
Carried on the head of a farmer’s wife
As she walks her duck to the market
 
This moment of fun will soon be over
Life changes like that, and soon life’s over
 
Someone will eat him for dinner tonight
He won’t return home with the farmer’s wife
 
Even lucky ducks living privileged lives
Travelling the world while riding high
 
May escape the farm with the farmer’s wife
But won’t escape fate when it’s dinnertime
 
 
© 2015 by Aisha Abdelhamid
 
;^)

 
 

Aisha’s Egypt: French Fry Farmers

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Can you carry your plate of french fries
On your head to your dinner table?
A plate full of tasty french fries
Is a “fast” food in some places,
But it’s not so speedy, here in Egypt,
Where guiding a horse and tilling the field
Is the way potatoes make it to the plate.
 

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Can you see yourself clearing the field,
Collecting them one by one,
From the soil into your bucket?
Just imagine your daily life
Working as a french fry farmer –
No one pulls the bag from the freezer
Without someone harvesting potatoes.
 

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;^)

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Aisha’s Egypt: A Heavily Loaded Horsecart

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A Heavily Loaded Horsecart

Sometimes there’s a very fine line between a blessing and a curse
A blend of triumph and dismay swirling like a question mark
Whispering in the misty place between ignorance and conscience

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Aisha’s Egypt: The Ice Cream Man

ice cream man in egypt by aisha

The Ice Cream Man

Sitting on a shady lane alongside a canal
In a little Egyptian village under eucalyptus trees

With only the rustling leaves stirring in the breeze
I hear the happy music of the ice cream man arriving

The idyllic little moment freezes in a flash
And melts like the memory of a delicious past

Like dripping strawberry ice cream landing on bare feet
Mingling with laughter and dusty childhood dreams

I hear his happy tune from half a world away
Returning like an echo of distant summer days

Sitting on a shady lane alongside a canal
In a little Egyptian village under eucalyptus trees

Sharing strawberry ice cream
With my childhood dreams

© 2014 by Aisha Abdelhamid

;^)