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Birds of Egypt: “Cleopatra,” The Green Bee-Eater

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Cleopatra, The Green Bee-Eater of Egypt, "Merops Orientalis“

This is the first in a series of posts about my bird neighbors here in Egypt. I’m not a card carrying member of the Audubon Society, but I really love my bird neighbors, wherever I live. Here in the rural Nile Delta, birds are very different from my friends back on the farm in South Carolina. Come to think of it, all of my neighbors here are quite different from those in South Carolina! But I’ll stick to the birds for now. They are far less sensitive to the strange American Lady with her camera, and I don’t have to be quite so stealthy to take their pictures.

These pretty green birds have been catching my eye, and eluding my camera, for almost two years. Finally I caught this nice little beauty unaware while Mohamed and I were preparing new soil to add to our rooftop barrels. It is officially winter here, so even though most of the deciduous trees still haven’t lost their leaves, we must catch up on our winter gardening tasks while we have a chance. So we were up on the roof over our garage, preparing soil, and this nice green bird must have felt safe, seeing we were obviously occupied in a harmless activity nearby her perch in the Mulberry, or “Toot” Tree, as it is called in Arabic. I spied her up there, flashing bright green in the morning sunshine as she hunted bugs for breakfast. Nonchalantly I turned and went downstairs to grab my camera, praying her breakfast of bugs was big today. It was! I was able to set my camera on the fence of the roof to get a few really well focused shots before she felt full enough to leave her place at the mulberry table. That was fun!

Isn’t she gorgeous?

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Cleopatra, The Green Bee-Eater Bird Sitting Pretty in the Mulberry Tree


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