Sunday, 4 March 2018

Israel: 04 - 06.03.2018

Day 27 04.03.2018
My last day in the mountains before a much needed break was the most uninspiring days migration I have seen here for some time; Only a handful of Steppe Eagles, and then a couple of Steppe Buzzards. It was extremely slow and not very pleasant. The birds on the ground around me performed very nicely; with both the Desert Larks and Hooded Wheatear showing off. The only real highlight of the day was seeing the Striated Heron again in the morning.
-Striated Heron
-Hooded Wheatear

Species List:
High Mountain: Steppe Eagle, Steppe Buzzard, House Martin, Hooded Wheatear, White-crowned Black Wheatear, Desert Lark, Brown-necked Raven, Feral Pigeon, Collard Dove, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Kestrel,

Day 28 05.03.2018
After four consecutive days in the mountains seeing very little, I was very much looking forward to my day off! My chosen destination was Neots Semadar to hopefully see a day roosting pallid scops owl, but first of all duty called, and we first went to K20 to see the Lesser Flamingo that was found yesterday. Yep, we turned up, it was there, five minutes and then we left. It’s not the most inspiring species in the world, but still cool to see, especially since it was in the company of Greater Flamingo. Only the third record for Israel.
After that early morning twitch I caught the bus up to Neots Semadar, and arrived at 09:00. I was unable to find the owl, but found something much more exciting when the first Cretzschmar's Bunting of the year popped out in front of me. This was the only non-wheatear species I really wanted to see, so to have such a stunning individual so early in the season was really quite exciting. New trip ticks for me included Common Redstart and Robin. There were also a few new butterflies, including Plain Tiger, and a new dragonfly, as well as lots of lizards. It was a very nice days birding.
After midday I head onwards to the desert near to Ovda. My main target was to photograph Temmincks Lark, but they took a long time to find. Sadly the wind was very strong, creating a very dusty atmosphere, but after a couple of hours I was finally rewarded with a flock of 25. The photos I got were an improvement on what I already had, but theres still much room for improvement.
-Lesser Flamingo
-Cretzschmar's Bunting
-Epaulet Skimmer
-Lizard sp.
-Temminck's Lark

Species List: 
Neots Semadar: Tawny Pipit, Common Kestrel, Spanish Sparrow, Hoopoe, Black Redstart, Common Redstart, Cretzschmar's Bunting, Common Whitethroat, European Stonechat, Quail, Lesser Whitethroat, Steppe Buzzard, Steppe Eagle, Sparrowhawk, Meadow Pipit, Water Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, European Robin, Laughing Dove, Collard Dove, Spectacled Bulbul, Palestine Sunbird, House Sparrow, White Wagtail,
Ovda: Northern Wheatear, Temmincks Lark, Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Lesser Whitethroat, Northern Wheatear, Spectacled Bulbul,

Day 29 06.03.2018
With raptor passage continuing to be slow, even whilst I was off yesterday, I did not have high hopes for my watch at Low Mountain today. However, today was exceptionally poor; between the two stations only one Steppe Eagle was counted, otherwise leaving clear, cloudless skies. A nice male Black-eared Wheatear and a Striolated Bunting, as well as the regular Hooded Wheatear were the only birds I saw that could cheer up an otherwise very slow day.
-Hooded Wheatear
-Desert Mantis Eremiaphila brunneri

Species List:
Low Mountain: Striolated Bunting, Blackstart, Black-eared Wheatear, Hooded Wheatear, Spectacled Bulbul, Feral Pigeon, Laughing Dove, Tristrams Starling, Steppe Eagle,

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