Sunday, 11 February 2018

Israel: 11 - 13.02.2018

Day 7 11.02.2018
Today I was back up at the Low Mountain raptor watchpoint. Sadly it lacked in any raptors, the Steppe Eagle total for the day being a very modest three. However, there were some other good birds around, namely the regular Blackstarts at this site, still showing very well, and a very nice male Hooded Wheatear, which appeared briefly mid-morning. Also a flock of Tristrams starlings was nice, while a flock of Pallid Swifts soared overhead.
In the evening, as per, we went snorkelling. Once again it was beyond amazing, with my first ever Lionfish. SPECTACULAR! An amazing fish to see, among a raft of other amazing species.
-Hooded Wheatear
-Tristrams Starling

Species List:
Low Mountain: Blackstart, Hooded Wheatear, Steppe Eagle, Kestrel, Feral Pigeon, Pallid Swift, Tristrams Starling, Sardinian Warbler, House Sparrow, Barn Swallow, Spectacled Bulbul, 

Day 8 12.02.2018
In order to work out days off for some of the other volunteers, I spent the day working in the bird park rather than in the mountain. It was much slower work, repairing one of the Heligoland traps, but there were many more birds on offer. Huge numbers of Swifts and Swallows over the park lake were a nice site, and at least 50 eagles flew over the reserve. More than the previous day in the mountains! Because I was in the park I was able to observe some of the Israeli ringing style for when I get into the park to ring my own birds. I did ring one bird today; a Spectacled Bulbul, what better bird to start with. It shed absolutely everywhere, but still a nice bird.
The evenings snorkelling produced a cracking Pufferfish, a few really smart Groupers and my first Emperor Angelfish, which is an absolute beast of a fish. A really stunning animal! I also saw my first Greater Sandplover of the trip, which was obviously very nice.
-Spanish Sparrow
-Spectacled Bulbul
-Funky Grasshopper

Species List:
Bird Park: Pallid Swift, Common Swift, Barn Swallow, Rock Martin, House Martin, Ruff, Common Snipe, Marsh Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Greenshank, Common Redshank, Spur-winged Plover, Black-winged Stilt, Greater Flamingo, Steppe Eagle, Steppe Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Spectacled Bulbul, Graceful Prinia, Little Green Bee-eater, Spanish Sparrow, House Sparrow, Chiffchaff, Sardinian Warbler, Cormorant, Coot, Little Grebe, Marsh Harrier, Laughing Dove, Collard Dove, Feral Pigeon, 

Day 9 13.02.2018
This was only my second visit to High Mountain, so I was hopeful for more opportunities to photograph Wheatears and Larks. Sadly that was not how things transpired, as a strong northerly wind moved in overnight, bringing with it rain and a drastic drop in temperature. Most of my watch was spent huddled up watch the small passage of distant Steppe Eagles. The Larks and Wheatears did drop by occasionally, but I will have to wait a little while before I get the shots I have been after.
-Desert Lark

Species List:
High Mountain: Steppe Eagle, Hooded Wheatear, Desert Lark, Feral Pigeon, Rock Martin,

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