Found 60km North of Basrah, Iraq
Black Desert ant Holds their rear high
Feral dogs observed in the desert. They stood still long enough to take a picture and take food. While they were more calm being near humans than other wild animals, it was obvious that they were not tame and had little human contact.
Flower mantis on resting on Oleader flower by the roadside on base.
Dead camel spider brought to me by another soldier.
In April of both years I was in Iraq (2004 and 2010) large numbers of Painted Lady butterflies appeared on base feeding on the flowering Eucalyptus trees. Once counted over 400 individuals in a 10 minute walk across base.
Saw several of these snakes during my first deployment to Iraq. They were often found when soldiers were moving sandbags. These interesting pink snakes apparently prey on ant nests and consume the larvae.
Small bush growing outside our building.
Feeding by edge of small pond south of Al Faw Palace
Pair of Red-wattled Lapwings with one chick by Al Faw Palace
Fledgling and adult Hypocolius in tree near canal.
Two Eurasian Collared Doves at Victory Base, Baghdad
Hundreds of coot overwintered at one of the drainage ponds on base. Numbers were often between 300-500 birds present.
These annuals grow everywhere on base during the winter/early spring, especially in ditches where water collects after a rain. The plants reach around 18 inches in height. I found many butterflies and other insects nectaring on the flowers and Painted Lady caterpillars seemed to like the leaves. Need help with the species.
Wood Pigeon nesting in Mulberry Tree on base.
Indian Roller sitting on south perimeter fenceline
Caper Bush growing in barren lot on base. A new set of flowers would bloom each night.
Found several dozen medium sized green cicadas with blue eyes on a eucalyptus tree approximately 2 AM. multiple holes in ground near base of tree where cicadas emerged.
New fleshy seedpods on Syrian Mesquite plants. A common plant in dry waste areas in central iraq.
Small, very spiky legume shrub approx 12-18 inches high, seen growing commonly in waste and disturbed areas in central iraq. Small red flowers earlier in the season, later developing pods
Large colony of Desert Ants (Cataglyphis sp.) living under a large paving stone outside building on base. Also present were some small commensal silverfish which seemed to be living in the piles of waste and insect parts discarded from the nest. The ants were very aggressive and fast moving. Long legs adapted for very hot environment. Air temp in summer up to 127 F ambient with ground temp likely higher at surface.
Small tree about 3 meters high with bright red catkins and some leaves. Tigris River is approximately 1 km away and larger trees are found on the banks and islands of the river.
Many froglets found under large rocks and debris on edge of drainage pond. Also large numbers on waters edge fleeing into water when approached. Daytime temperature approximately 110 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Pond experienced significant drying (around 50%) since spring. Adult Frogs rest on large algal mats to call in late winter/early spring.
Tree frog found in a latrine on Joint Base Balad near Al Bakr, Iraq. Frog released in nearby retention pond. Cleaning truck most likely sucked frog up from pond while taking in water. Large numbers of frogs could be heard calling in irrigation ditches surrounding the base during early spring.