Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Israel: 03 - 05.04.2018

Day 56 03.04.2018
Once again for my day off I headed out with Tim and his dad to try and have a great days birding. We started at Yotvata looking for Hoopoe Lark, but sadly we only heard them distantly. Through walking in the dunes though we found a Short-eared Owl, which is something of a rarity here. Male Pallid Harriers circling round and a few Black Storks migrating overhead made for an awesome morning.
Just a few fields away we checked for the Pied Wheatears that had been present for a few days. As we arrived we were informed by Frank Moffat that the birds had just been caught and were being processed before being shown at that very moment. Whilst we waited we checked for a Menetries's Warbler that Frank had found the previous evening. After a bit of work it showed nicely, allowing for us to study the bird a little and learn more about its jizz. The Wheatears were an adult and a young male and they were both absolutely stunning. We caught up with them in the field after as well, where we were also afforded excellent views.
Once we had wrapped up at Yotvata we headed on to Qetura and then Neots Samadar. Qetura was good, with nice numbers of regular migrants, as well as an Armenian Stonechat, a Siberian subspecies related closely to Caspian Stonechat. Only on our second attempt did we find the Dead Sea Sparrows we were looking for and even then we only found females. Neots Samadar was good for migrants, but nothing outstanding; Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Masked Shrike, Nightingale and Redstart were about the best we managed. It was really pleasant birding though.
For the late afternoon we went back to Yotvata where we caught up with the Pied Wheatears again. They were still showing and we were able to get some nice pictures. In the morning we had seen a Lesser Short-toed Lark fly over us calling, and whilst it was tickable views it would have been nice to catch up with it on the deck. After a little searching somehow we refound the bird feeding alone on the edge of the circular field. Through the scope we got nice views of the bird, another excellent species for the day. Two Corn Buntings in the circular field were also a nice trip tick.
-Desert Red Fox
-Menetries's Warbler
-Pied Wheatear
-Armenian Stonechat
-Desert Gecko
-Rufous Bush Robin

Species List:
Yotvata, Qetura & Neots Samadar: Garganey, Moorhen, Cormorant, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Squacco Heron, Hen Harrier,  Barbary Falcon, Lesser Kestrel, Steppe Buzzard, Black Kite, Steppe Eagle, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Booted Eagle, White Stork, Black Stork, Osprey, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Laughing Dove, Collard Dove, European Turtle Dove, Little Green Bee-eater, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Dunlin, Little Stint, Greenshank, Redshank, Spur-winged Plover, Ringed Plover, Baltic Gull, Heuglins Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Pallid Swift, Common Swift, Sand Martin, Eurasian Crag Martin, Rock Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Water Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Tawny Pipit, Water Pipit, White Wagtail, Black-headed Wagtail, Blue-headed Wagtail, Grey-headed Wagtail, Sykes Wagtail, Northern Wheatear, Isabelline Wheatear, Pied Wheatear, Black-eared Wheatear, Greater Short-toed Lark, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Hoopoe Lark, Hoopoe, Masked Shrike, Lesser Whitethroat, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Reed Warbler, Crested Lark, Ortolan Bunting, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Dead Sea Sparrow, Corn Bunting, Whinchat, Armenian Stonechat, Siberian Stonechat, Short-eared Owl,

Day 57 04.04.2018
Today was absolutely metal at high mountain, with 55000 birds, but at Low Mountain I ‘only’ had 10000 buzzards with a few other birds mixed in. Nearly all the birds came in the morning, with many of them low to my East. In the evening push the birds were so high, they were still dots even through the binoculars. The Striolated Bunting came by during the evening, landing right next to where I was sat, but sadly right behind a rock.
-White Stork
-Striolated Bunting

Species List:

Low Mountain: Steppe Eagle, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Booted Eagle, Osprey, Marsh Harrier, Steppe Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Black Kite, White Stork, Black Stork, Egyptian Vulture, European Sparrowhawk, Desert Lark, House Martin, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Striolated Bunting, Trumpeter Finch, Sand Partridge, Tristrams Starling, House Crow, 

Day 58 05.04.2018
There’s not many days left of the raptors survey now, but every day now we are getting some thousands of birds. Today was not a massive day, with just over 6000 Steppe Buzzards in the morning, but it then went insane in the evening when, over a 90 minute period, we recorded over 10000 birds all flying high. The sky was literally full of birds! Among the masses we picked out a number of goodies; Black Stork, Steppe Eagle, Booted Eagle etc. The highlight was an incredibly low Long-legged Buzzard which flew just overhead allowing me to get frame filling pictures. Sadly the bird is missing an outer primary, which somewhat upsets its overall appearance, but still a stunning bird.
-Steppe Eagle
-Long-legged Buzzard
-Black Stork

Species List:
High Mountain: Steppe Eagle, Greater Spotted Eagle, Booted Eagle, Osprey, Marsh Harrier, Steppe Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Black Kite, Black Stork, Egyptian Vulture, European Sparrowhawk, Desert Lark, Hooded Wheatear, House Martin, Common Swift, Pallid Swift,

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