Saturday, 17 March 2018

Israel: 16 - 18.03.2018

Day 39 16.03.2018
I decided to return to Low Mountain so that I could be on my own to practice for an interview in the evening Ads it turns out though, today was an excellent day to be in Low Mountain with a near constant stream of birds. Most of the action occurred in the evening, when the birds flew high overhead with a nice variety of species.  The highlights included a Dark phase Booted Eagle, male Pallid Harrier, Osprey and just the sheer spectacle of the huge numbers, especially of Steppe Buzzards. Around Low Mountain I was joined by Sand Partridge, Bonelli’s Warbler and the regular Striolated Bunting. A really enjoyable day in all, with good numbers of birds!
-Sand Partridge
-Steppe & Long-legged Buzzard

Species List:
Low Mountain: Black Stork, Osprey, Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Imperial Eagle, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Pallid Harrier, Black Kite, Steppe Buzzard, Common Swift, House Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Sand Partridge, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, Spectacled Bulbul, Tristrams Starling, Laughing Dove, Collard Dove,

Day 40 17.03.2018
An insane day at High Mountain with 13000 birds, 10000 of which were Steppe Buzzards! Another 1000 Black Kits and nearly 1000 Black Storks, plus double figures of Egyptian Vulture, Marsh Harrier, Osprey and many more raptors! It was crazy, a none-stop stream of birds! At the same time we had Swifts, Swallows, Larks and Wagtails also moving overhead. To say it was the best day we’ve had in the mountains so far would not be an understatement. It was absolutely crazy; birds left, right overhead. At one point in the morning we were surrounded by birds all around us; mainly Buzzards and Kites. It was a nightmare to count but such an awesome spectacle.
-Black Storks

Species List: 
High Mountain: Black Stork, White Stork, Osprey, Egyptian Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Marsh Harrier, Pallid Harrier, Black Kite, Long-legged Buzzard, Steppe Buzzard, Alpine Swift, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, European Bee-eater, Lesser Kestrel, Short-toed Lark, Swallow, House Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Tawny Pipit, Hooded Wheatear, Desert Lark, Brown-necked Raven,

Day 41 18.03.2018
A day off was well overdue, but this time I decided to head to sanctuary to have a go at some ringing. Dan was also coming out to Israel, so I was meeting her at the Bird Park to get her familiar with some of the commoner species in Israel. It was an awesome first net round, although it quickly died off, with Nightingale and an awesome Little Crake. Most of the other birds caught were common migrants, but still nice to get up close with Eastern Bonelli’s and the like. After that we headed around the bird park where there were really good numbers of birds. An Asian Desert Warbler was a nice surprise, Red-necked Phalarope a bit more expected but still nice and Namaqua Dove was brief but nice. The real highlight though was finding two Crested Honey Buzzards! I could see the birds overhead, and considered that they might be honey buzzards looking at the tail and structure, but the primary windows had me concerned. I took a few photos then went back to watching them, but I could make nothing out until I actually looked at the photos to see a perfect Crested Honey Buzzard looking back at me. It was then joined by another. What a crazy sight, I was absolutely buzzing.
In the afternoon we went to Holland Park to hopefully find some migrants. We had a nice Ruppell’s Warbler, and a smart adult Masked Shrike, my first of the trip. The best of it sadly passed me by, when we found a flock of eight Lichtensteins Sandgrouse right next to the path. I saw the first bird and thought it looked off for a Sand Partridge, but failed to notice the other seven sat right by the path. Had I noticed them, frame filling pictures would have been available, but alas not. We found them again in cover but no chance for photos.
-Little Crake
-Little Green Bee-eater
-Crested Honey Buzzard
-Lichtensteins Sandgrouse

Species List:
IBRCE Bird Sanctuary: Lesser White-fronted Goose, Egyptian Goose, Mallard, Glossy Ibis, Squacco Heron, Grey Heron, Cormorant, Slender-billed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Steppe Eagle, Steppe Buzzard, Black Kite, Crested Honey Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Temmincks Stint, Kentish Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Redshank, Greenshank, Marsh Sandpiper, Greater Flamingo, Red-necked Phalarope, Little Crake, Pied Kingfisher, White-throated Kingfisher, Water Rail, Spur-winged Plover, Ruff, Namaqua Dove, Collard Dove, Laughing Dove, Feral Pigeon, Tawny Pipit, Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Lesser Whitethroat, Ruppell’s Warbler, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Asian Desert Warbler, Chiffchaff, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, Graceful Prinia, Sedge Warbler, Bluethroat, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Little Green Bee-eater, Woodchat Shrike, House Crow, Nightingale, Northern Wheatear, Desert Wheatear, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin, Rock Martin, Barn Swallow, Common Swift, Pallid Swift,
Holland Park: Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse, House Crow, Feral Pigeon, Laughing Dove, Collard Dove, Blackstart, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, Chiffchaff, Masked Shrike, Ruppell’s Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Palestine Sunbird, Spectacled Bulbul, Little Green Bee-eater, Sand Partridge,

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