Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Israel: 20 - 22.02.2018

Day 15 20.02.2018
After a few days in the mountains I was able to have another day off. My initial plan was to go out birding somewhere, but decided to eventually go to the Bird Park in Eilat and do some ringing. We caught a few nice birds during the morning; Spanish Sparrow, Lesser Whitethroat and a lifer for me; Savi’s Warbler, of which we caught two. Once we closed the nets we spent the afternoon birding around the bird park, where we saw quite a few bits and pieces, including another lifer; Little Crake. One had been seen in the park the previous day, so I returned to the spot where it had been seen, along with the finder of the bird. We only had to wait a short while before we saw the bird moving through the reeds. We got exceptional views, but it was never out in the open, so no photos to reflect how good the encounter was.
-Savi's Warbler
-Eastern Imperial Eagle
-Marsh Sandpiper 
-Spur-winged Plover
-Greater Flamingo
-Little Green Bee-eater

Species List:
IBRCE Bird Park: Northern Lapwing, Purple Heron, Savi’s Warbler, Palestine Sunbird, Ring-necked Parakeet, Sardinian Warbler, Spur-winged Plover, Great Cormorant, Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Spanish Sparrow, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Spectacled Bulbul, Bluethroat, Black-winged Stilt, Marsh Sandpiper, Greenshank, Greater Flamingo, Black Kite, Common Swift, Barn Swallow, Marsh Harrier, Tristrams Starling, Collard Dove, Laughing Dove, White Wagtail, House Martin, Sand Martin, Rock Martin, Temminck’s Stint, Little Crake, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Sparrowhawk, House Crow,

Day 16 21.02.2018
Once again I found myself at High Mountain, where I expected a fairly quiet day. However, for about an hour I was treated to the most exceptional show of Steppe Eagles I could ever have imagined, with nearly 300 birds flying directly overhead, all so low I could take frame filling pictures. It more than made up for the lack of eagles during the rest of time up there. But before we even got there we had to stop off at the park, and as chance would have it Anton had just caught a European Scops Owl, so we got to see that stunning beast in the hand.
-European Scops Owl
-Steppe Eagle

Species List:
High Mountain: Steppe Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Brown-necked Raven, Desert Lark, Hooded Wheatear, Tristrams Starling, Striolated Bunting, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Sand Partridge, Sardinian Warbler, Rock Martin, 

Day 17 22.02.2018
After large numbers yesterday, and now finding myself back at Low Mountain, I was optimistic of having another good day of passage. Sadly the 65 Eagles we had were nothing on what the previous day had been. Ten Steppe Buzzards thrown in were a nice addition to our count, but that was all for birds moving overhead. As for birds on around the watchpoint, we were treated to a good performance from the Striolated Bunting, although always distant.
Once we had wrapped up in the mountains, which took a little longer than usual on account of the rental car being crashed, we headed down to go snorkelling again. As before, the Blue Ribbontail Ray was still present, and there were awesome views of Lionfish, Angelfish and the usual host of amazing species. I also found some Christmas-tree Worms, which are amazing creatures, and something I had no idea I would see. Ana, another of the raptor volunteers gave me her GoPro to take out, so I was able to grab some video, hopefully I’ll be able to get more the next time we go out.
-Striolated Bunting
-Desert Agama

Species List:
Low Mountain: Steppe Buzzard, Steppe Eagle, Feral Pigeon, Desert Lark, Lesser Whitethroat, Spectacled Bulbul, Striolated Bunting, Collard Dove, House Crow, Common Swift, Desert Agama, Painted Lady,

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