Friday, 2 March 2018

Israel: 01 - 03.03.2018

Day 24 01.03.2018
After a long and tedious day in High Mountain, today it was nice to return to Low Mountain with just under 1000 Steppe Eagles, plus nearly 50 Steppe Buzzards, 10+ Short-toed Eagles and a cracking adult Egyptian Vulture. It was a pretty mega day to be fair, with a nice variety of species. Sadly it dried up in the afternoon but all morning we had birds all around us.
In the evening, once I had got down from the mountain, I went off with Franz and a couple of others to the K19 in order to see the Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse come in and drink. We had awesome views of three individuals just after dark, really close, before they flew off into the night. Before they arrived we enjoyed an amazing adult flyover Pallas’s Gull, plus three Pelicans, four Night Herons and a female Pochard. It was all really exciting. We followed it up by a short drive around the area with a lamp. We managed to find another Desert Hedgehog and two Foxes. Then we had an amazing experience with three Egyptian Nightjars, but one that sat right out in front allowing us taking some amazing photos in the torchlight. It was an absolutely bonkers evening.
-Egyptian Vulture
-Steppe Buzzard
-Pallas's Gull
-Egyptian Nightjar

Species List:
Low Mountain: Steppe Eagle, Steppe Buzzard, Short-toed Eagle, Common Kestrel, Alpine Swift, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, House Sparrow, Collard Dove, Spectacled Bulbul, Hooded Wheatear, Blackstart, Sand Partridge, Desert Lark, Long-legged Buzzard, Little Green Bee-eater, House Crow, Feral Pigeon,
K19: Pochard, Pintail, Teal, Shoveler, Shelduck, Mallard, Pochard, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Great White Pelican, Marsh Harrier, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Sand Martin, House Martin, Common Swift, Lichtensteins Sandgrouse, Black-headed Wagtail, Water Pipit, White Wagtail, Pallas’s Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Egyptian Nightjar, Red Fox, Desert Hedgehog,

Day 25 02.03.2018
Another day spent in the mountains, this time at High Mountain. A morning that started with so much promise with around 250 Steppe Buzzards, sadly petered out and we finished off with just three birds after 11 in the morning. There were a few none raptors to enjoy as well, including my first Little Swifts of the trip. They flew right over our heads in the company of Common and Pallid Swift, as well as House Martin. Scrub warbler was still singing from the Wadi below, and both Hooded and White-crowned Black Wheatear came to visit us. Once we left the mountain I called in at the Bushes of Liebzi to have another look for the Black Bush Robin. It was still present and showing very well, although once again in rather gloomy conditions. There was also a nice White-eyed Gull in the harbour.
-White-eyed Gull
-White-crowned Black Wheatear
-Short-toed Eagle
-Brown-necked Raven
-Black Bush Robin
Species List:
High Mountain: Brown-necked Raven, Little Swift, Pallid Swift, Common Swift, House Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Rock Martin, Scrub Warbler, Hooded Wheatear, White-crowned Black Wheatear, Steppe Eagle, Steppe Buzzard, Short-toed Eagle, Desert Lark, Lesser Emperor,

Day 26 03.03.2018
After the success with the White-eyed Gull the previous morning I decided to buy some fish and try again this morning. Sadly the presence of about 15 fishermen meant that I only saw the gull as a brief flyby. However, I was treated to a very nice show by the local Striated Heron, my first of the trip.
I was then picked up at the marina and taken to Low Mountain where I was hopeful of a better day than yesterday. Sadly that was not the case as the few birds that there were decided to migrate via High Mountain. The only silver lining to this cloud was that one of our very few birds was a stunning pale phase Booted Eagle, my first of the trip. Not close enough for pictures, but certainly close enough to appreciate what a stunning bird it is. A pair of Striolated Buntings also gave us a nice flyby.
-Striated Heron
-Massive Grasshopper

Species List:
High Mountain: Tristrams Starling, Collard Dove, House Sparrow, Spectacled Bulbul, Blackstart, Hooded Wheatear, Sand Partridge, Feral Pigeon, Steppe Buzzard, Steppe Eagle, Booted Eagle, Striolated Bunting, House Martin, Rock Martin, Pallid Swift,

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