Eilat Weekly Updates

Shachar Shalev 06/11/2017 00:00

 

 

 

 

18.11.17

 



 

On a normal work day, no car, I don't see a ray of sunshine.

Thursday: work day with car- started at Yotvata north field: mini raptor festival, Lanner Falcon, 2 Merlins, Pallid Harrier, Hen Harrier, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Imperial Eagle, Sparrowhawks and Kestrels. On the menu - Desert Finch, Skylarks, Red-throated Pipits, Lapwings, Starlings, Desert Wheatears and an Isabelline Wheatear.

 

KM76 had loads of Desert Wheatears, Bluethroats, Black Redstarts, Linnets, Tawny Pipits, Eastern Stonechats, Spotted Sandgrouse...plenty going on despite being bone dry. Wadi Ya'alon had a Cyprus Warbler and a Mistle Thrush (quite rare this far south). Stopped at Kibbutz Ketura for the Hume’s Leaf Warbler, Km20 good numbers of regulars and KM19 had 120 Pelicans and an Imperial Eagle.

North Beach is still sporting a Brown Booby and I even managed to pop into work for a quick coffee. Friday morning I went deep into Hiyyon to see what's happening off the beaten track....a quick answer not much, Desert Wheatears, a couple of Hoopoe Larks and a pair of Macqueen’s Bustards. All the birds were right next to the road. Apart from the Red-rumped couple, 12 Thick-billed Larks were strolling around, Asian Desert Warblers, a couple of Spectacled Warblers, regular Wheatears, Trumpeter Finch etc.

 

This morning a full crew made the way up to Ovda which is still bouncing with birds. We pushed our way through the hundreds of Temminck's Larks, a cloud of Trumpeter Finch, endless wheatears, Larks, Pipits etc to get to the Red-rumped Wheatear and Basalt Wheatear. They seem to be competing for attention, bounding up to us and posing on every little rock and bush available. Also around were a Thick-billed Lark, Asian Desert Warbler, a Merlin and even some Cranes. Birding here has become so easy even northerners can do it.... . That said we did find a certain Shai wandering round KM94 for hours without finding anything. Happily the situation was rectified quickly and he could return to his Red-Wattled Siksak with a big smile. You just can't beat birding here! Have a great week!


 

11.11.17

 



 

Eilat's excellent autumn continued this week with growing numbers of European birders taking advantage of the cheap flights to Eilat and excellent birds that are waiting for them in every corner.

 

The week started with a Little Bunting at the park, a skulky bird that was heard more than seen. Still a good year for this bird in Israel with a number ringed and others seen. I'm fairly sure some more Little Buntings are in the Arava fields. A Yellow-browed Warbler has finally turned up at the Naot Smadar Cafe while a Hume's Leaf Warbler has been heard and now seen at the Ketura swimming pool.

 

Monday I had a Black-bellied Sandgrouse at the Elifaz Reservoir, a bird rarely seen in the southern Arava. Two different Isabelline Shrikes were seen in the park along with a very friendly Red-breasted Flycatcher welcoming all visitors at the front gate. Not so friendly was a Menetries Warbler that stuck to a very bushy area on the west side of the park but we still got some nice views of him Friday.

 

Today Aviv found a not unexpected 2nd Basalt Wheatear for the season at Amram's Pillars possibly also a returnee as he is very close to the spot a Basalt Wheatear wintered last year. It was a good week for raptors too, Lanner Falcons reported at Yotveta, KM 19 and the park, an Imperial Eagle at Yotveta, Bonelli's Eagle, Greater Spotted Eagle, many Steppe Eagles, Lesser Spotted Eagles, Pallid and Hen Harriers plus all the regulars.

 

Ovda continues to provide excellent birding with all the rarities and good larks still there.

KM76 is very birdy and well worth checking along with the fields north of Lotan and some of the wadis north of KM82. There are lots of wintering birds moving in plus the overshoots- Bramblings,Hawfinch etc that have gone a little further than they wanted.

Finally the Brown Booby is back at North Beach along with a Little Gull that roosted at the Park ponds with the many big gulls.

It's such a great time to be birding, don't miss it!

 

 

4.11.17

 



 

Firstly I would like to apologise to all those birders who have been down to Ovda in the last couple of weeks and now face another trip south. I had planned to go north this weekend ending with a pelagic on the Mediterranean. But the pelagic was cancelled and I got parent duty again today. Yesterday we ringed over a hundred birds at the IBRCE and then I took our Swedish volunteer Stefan to Ovda to see the best birding spot around. The Basalt Wheatear sang for us beautifully, very similar to a Pied Wheatear song. Temminck’s Larks mobbed us, Cream-coursers were strolling around and the Red-rumped Wheatear put on a show.

 

Plenty of other birds around too, very cool spot these days. Some Finns saw 50 Thick-billed Larks, Bar-tailed larks, Hoopoe Larks etc. This morning we also ringed over 100 birds and a suspected Pied Wheatear was seen near the park. Afterwards I took Stefan again to check out KM76, KM83 and maybe if we have time KM94. KM 76 was fairly quiet with a few Wheatears, Stonechats, Tawny Pipits etc. Then we missed the turn to a little wadi I wanted to check. So we jumped to KM94 for a quick check of the spot a Basalt Wheatear was found 2 years ago. There were Wheatears around and then Stefan spotted a Macqueen’s Bustard. We walked after it for a bit and then it gave us the slip. In it's place was an unusual looking Wheatear with a greyish-black back.

 

He was very,very shy and hard to get a good look at. After 20 minutes of carefully following him a red-headed Wheatear jumped up beside him. Even at a distance there was doubt this was a second Red-rumped Wheatear! For some reason I still didn't put two and two together and we watched the pair continuing to keep their distance....and then I had to slap myself...it was so obvious that this second bird was a male Red-rumped Wheatear and this really was a pair!!! Unbelievable!! 28 years without a Red-rumped Wheatear and suddenly we have a bird in Ovda and a pair in Hemda! And then again this pair may have bred here for all we know and the bird in Ovda may be the offspring! It's all happening here! Don't miss the action!

 

28.10.17



 

Yet again the Israeli birding community has been dragged down to the deep south for another mega rarity and like his predecessors the latest star didn't disappoint. The Red-rumped Wheatear remained all week in the same area and remained very easy going despite the number of photographers looking for photos.

She bounced over to visit me while I was being mobbed by Temminck's Larks, happily snaffling down beatles.

 

On thursday I went looking for Basalt Wheatears in the area (Ovda valley) and while I didn't find one today one turned up very close the Red-rumped Wheatear. My guess is we will see more of them shortly and possibly even rarer birds. The area is great with growing numbers of Temminck's Larks, Thick-billed Larks, Hoopoe Larks Bar-tailed Larks, a couple of Richard's Pipits, Bimaculated Larks, Cream-colored Coursers, Wheatears and Stonechats. There are still corners of Ovda that need checking out, who knows what's hiding there??

 

More raptors have been on the move this week with Steppe Eagles being the most common, a few Lesser Spotted Eagles, many Booted Eagles, a Bonelli's Eagle and Greater Spotted Eagle at Km 19 and the Imperial Samar Eagle has returned for his ninth winter here! Ringing was a bit slow most of the week but has picked up today with big numbers of Chiffchaffs and Bluethroats moving in. There have been a couple of Red-Breasted Flycatchers, a Richards Pipit, Baillon's Crake, the first Dead Sea Sparrows, Robins, Song Thrush, Stonechats etc.

Yotvata has been surprisingly quiet and apart from a Merlin and Finsch's Wheatear not much to report.

Come visit, it will be worth it!

 

 

21.10.17

 



 

Happiness comes in little parcels....

and generally at the end of a long day when you are ready to throw in the towel. It was a pretty quiet weekend bird-wise and I had this long list of great birds I was sure we were going to find.

 

Friday I didn't get the camera out of it's case though it was perfectly pleasant with some Steppe Eagles coming over, Cranes in small groups, a nice variety of regular migrants in the nets and a pair of Black-necked Grebes on lake Anita. This mornings ringing was pretty ordinary with Reed Warblers being the only willing occupants. But there was a very interesting Stonechat of an eastern variety, some nice features for stejnegeri and others more Maura...only the DNA will tell.

 

Afterwards I set off with Jani to find the missing birds. KM19 was packed with regular winterers and looks promising, Km 20 was regulars only except for some Cranes pretending to be Flamingos. The Yotvata north field had a nice range of Wheatears, Red-throated Pipits, Short-toed Larks etc and looks good for the near future. Then it was up to Ovda to look for the Thick-billed Larks found the day before by Itai.

 

We wandered around a lot, plenty of birds but no Thick-bills....Jani went chasing a Wild Asian Ass and I went to get the car we left km's back. When I picked him up I intended to head for home but thought maybe we'll check the last bit of road at a slow cruise. We stopped for about the 50th time by an Isabelline Wheatear but this one one had a bright red head!!??

We looked at each other and then back at the bird....and it still had a red head and also a rusty rump.... . Moesta??!!

We jumped out to get some tail photos, walking up and down for half an hour with Jani cursing his camera but he got the job done. This is the first Red-rumped Wheatear seen here since 1989! when they bred in the Negev...5th record for Israel.

Now that is a bird you can be very happy with....and still we couldn't resist a quick look at Naot Smadar junction for yellow-browed warblers....Have a great week, just like me!

 

 

14.10.17

 



 

Another long weekend has passed with lots of birding, quality birds and great weather. It's that wonderful time of year where we have migration and desert birds arriving plus the perfect weather to enjoy both.

While we had some late birds like the Barred Warbler and the Broad-billed Sandpiper, we also had some wintering birds arriving and a steady flow of migrants. At the park we had another very smart Daurian Shrike, a Common Rosefinch, growing numbers of Bluethroats, a couple of Eurasian Nightjars and a good variety warblers, shrikes and locals.

Yotvata was fairly empty after the north field was ploughed but hopefully it will return to action with some watering. In comparison Ovda is wonderful, bouncing with birds the whole length of the valley. A nice group of Temminck's Horned Larks has arrived, Bar-tailed Larks, Hoopoe Larks wandering the open areas, Cream-coloured Coursers, Crowned and Spotted Sandgrouse, 6 species of Wheatears, Shrikes, Pipits and huge numbers of beatles that will keep many birds happy.

The ponds are full and the puddle near the park gate is racking up a very respectable species list, well worth checking in the late evening. Quite a lot of birders have been enjoying the great season here, maybe it's time to join them!


 

7.10.17



 

One of the great things about the autumn migration is that the weather just gets better all the time and the variety of birds passing through gets larger nearly until the end.

But this week’s star bird was a non-migrant who arrived in Eilat for the first time. Clamourous Reed Warblers inhabit many reedy reservoirs between the Hula to just south of the Dead Sea.

Occasionally some of us think we hear them but we didn’t see, or catch, any of them.

On Friday that changed when a very worn bird arrived in the nets. Francis Argyle, our visiting ringer, has ringed thousands of them in the north and would have tossed it out (like he did with Israel's first Grasshopper Warbler!) but I was close and we all celebrated the small moment with a few photos.

 

With the Succot holiday we got quite a bit of ringing in, not too many birds but a nice variety. The first Red-Breasted Flycatcher arrived, a Scops Owl and Eurasian Nightjar were popular, plenty of Redstarts, Shrikes, the first few Bluethroats, flocks of Spanish Sparrows, Willow Warblers and dwindling numbers of Reed Warblers.

 

While the rest of the country is having a raptor festival we made do with a short visit from a few Lesser Spotted Eagles, Steppe Eagles, daily visits from Pallid Harriers, the odd Short-toed and Booted Eagles etc, one or two Red-footed Falcons, Peregrine Falcons and the last rounds of the Sooty Falcons before they head south.

 

Yotvata has been busy with groups of Collared Pratincoles and a couple of Black-winged Pratincoles, the first Red-throated Pipits, Oriental Skylarks, Desert and Black-eared Wheatears, a Spotted Crake and a friendly Roller. Elsewhere quite an extraordinary record of a very late Upchers Warbler at Evrona found by Itai Shanni, an Egyptian Nightjar found by Rei Segali and a Nubian Nightjar found by Yaniv Basher.

Lots of fun and it's not over yet! Have a great Succot!

 

30.9.17



 

Fairly quiet week here in the south which ended with the Yom Kippur holiday. For many like myself, that means more time searching for and picking up wounded children who have fallen off their bikes, scooters, skates etc and less time birding.

 

Some of the late migrants are starting to appear and many of the early migrants are disappearing which means a dip in numbers but a jump in variety. At the park we are low on warblers but the first Daurian Shrike arrived, a couple of Common Rosefinch passed through, a number of Golden Orioles, 3 pallid Harriers, Levant Sparrowhawks, lots of Redstarts and a little bit of everything.

Still good numbers of waders around and increasing numbers of waterfowl plus a nice array of wheatears frequenting the open areas.

Yotvata is still under invasion by Short-toed Larks but the first Richard’s Pipits and Oriental Skylarks have arrived along with a couple of Red-footed Falcons and Black-winged Pratincoles. Birds can be found throughout all the fields of Yotvata and it's worth cruising around the less visited areas too. Next week is Sucot and we will be doing much more birding!

Come and join us and have a great holiday season!

 

23.9.17

 



 

Last week we had the triple mega and this weekend we had Rosh Hashana long weekend, 3 days of birding as much as I please! But the bird gods weren't with my plans. Migration comes in waves and after the wave comes the clearing out phase. Just my luck most of the birds decided to move on Thursday morning and we were left with tens of thousands of Short-toed Larks and a few rebels.

 

The morning ringing sessions at the Eilat Bird Sanctuary saw only small numbers of birds, quite a few of them retraps. Of minor interest a young Collared Flycatcher, a late Rufous Tailed Bush-robin, a Barred Warbler and around 1,000 Levant Sparrowhawks rising out of the date plantations Thursday morning. There are a few more raptors around with Booted Eagles, Short-toed Eagles, Kites, Harriers, Lesser Kestrels joining a Barbary Falcon and Sooty Falcons.

 

Yotvata has huge numbers of Short-toed Larks, lots of Wheatears, a constant flow of Common and Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters, but the ground is drying fast so we might need some October rains to keep the birds interested.

 

Friday I decided to check out Ovda, not something you generally do in September. It was good to see the place is still in good condition with quite a few birds. Short-toed Larks were sitting under every little shrub, 5 species of Wheatears being friendly, plenty of shrikes, a few Spotted Sandgrouse and a Hoopoe Lark crossing the road.

 

Today I went a step sillier and went up to the Seyafim Plain which is really barren at this time of year. But the weather was mild and the view is great, two Mourning Wheatears, 2 White-crowned Wheatears, Pale Crag Martin, Southern Gray Shrike and a Sooty Falcon...well above expectations! Wader numbers are gradually dropping but I found quite a few waders on the canal about a kilometre south of the park....interesting spot! Have a nice week and a great new year!

 

 

16.9.17

 



 

One of the most memorable weeks of birding in Eilat was topped off by a "triple mega twitch" brilliantly organised by the Eilat Bird Sanctuary and it's director Noam Weiss.

To understand the seismic level of this day you need to understand the background. The Chestnut-shouldered Petronia (Yellow-throated Sparrow) found and ringed on Monday was Israel 5th record with the 4 previous records untwitchable.

The Swinhoe's and Wilson's Storm Petrels found the next day were Israel's 3rd and 10th records and they arrive in a moment and disappear in a flash. Until last year they were considered untwitchable.

Yet incredibly the Petronia stuck around and gave great views to everyone who made the effort (many thanks to the IBRCE volunteers who accompanied everyone who wanted to see the bird) and the 29 birders who signed onto Friday's pelagic organised by Noam Weiss were treated to stunning views of the enigmatic Storm Petrels, many seeing this species for the first time.

 

Some of Israel's most seasoned and experienced birders picked up 3 lifers in a day for the first time in decades!!! The pelagic started fairly quietly but 4 Cory's Shearwaters were nice company and there were the occasional White-cheeked Terns and White-eyed Gulls. 4 hours in an air of pessimism was becoming apparent while others used the quiet for a quick snooze. That changed very rapidly as a Swinhoe's Storm Petrel flashed across the bow of the boat. It was close enough for really good views but no-one managed to get a camera... Minutes later a Wilson's Storm Petrel headed straight towards the boat and made a number of passes giving everyone time for a great view.

 

This week's sightings are rapidly expanding our knowledge of the Storm Petrels in our area and I'm confident that in the future we will know where, when and how to find them. Else in the park, more Common Rosefinch, Rose-coloured Starlings, Eurasian Nightjars, Little Crakes, Golden Oriole and a pair of Cinereous Buntings found by Avner Rinot today.

Yotvata north circular field is rocking with thousands of Short-toed Larks and Yellow Wagtails. There are plenty of Northern Wheatears and Isabelline Wheatears, a Black-eared Wheatear, Shrikes, 2 Hill Sparrows, Montagu's Harrier, a Roller, Ortolan Buntings and a Cinereous Bunting earlier in the week. The South Field has a puddle in the middle that is attracting loads of birds and it's worth sitting back and watching for a bit. The north fields also have some good patches worth checking out. If you blinked then you missed this fantastic week....next week don't blink! Have a great week and a wonderful New Year!

 

9.9.17



 

We've had a really nice weekend with a really good wave of migrants, the park was swamped, the pools packed and the fields filling up.

The variety is also growing daily with more than 70 species counted in the park this morning and well over a hundred in the area. While during the week ringing numbers were quite low, Friday morning brought loads of passerines including huge numbers of shrikes, lots of Willow Warblers, Whitethroats etc Sedge Warblers, Savi's Warblers, Wrynecks, the first Thrush Nightingale, a Northern Wheatear ringed and the first Black-eared Wheatear plus a bonus couple of Common Rosefinch.

 

Also around were a young Egyptian Vulture, some Collared Pratincoles, Citrine Wagtails, the first Tree Pipit, Red-rumped Swallows, Little Crakes.... never a dull moment!

Km20 has seen record numbers of Flamingo pouring in, 1,940 counted midweek with over 1,000 of them juveniles. Large numbers of waders continue to fill the ponds as are growing numbers of Garganey, Shovellers, Pintails, Glossy Ibis, Grey and Purple Herons, White-winged Terns, Yellow Wagtails and Sand Martins. I didn't have time to go anywhere else but I'm sure it's just getting better throughout the Arava - come join us, you won't regret it!

 

4.9.17




 

I am back in town and back in business!

The annual shrike invasion is well underway and the ringers are feeling it more than anyone.... literally!

Red-backed Shrikes are everywhere and they can have quite a good nip to them. The Lesser Grays tend to hang around Km20 and acacia trees while Woodchat Shrikes and Masked Shrikes are also passing through in good numbers. Carefully avoiding the shrikes are the smaller passerines heading south, Reed warblers and Great Reed Warblers, Common Whitethroats and Lesser Whitethroats, Eastern Orphean Warblers and Eastern Olivaceous Warblers, Yellow Wagtails and Citrine Wagtails, Spotted Flycatchers and even a Pied Flycatcher. Also around were a few Black-headed Buntings, a couple of Hill Sparrows and a Rose-coloured Starling.

 

Km 20 and the park ponds have loads of waders, Marsh Terns, Garganey, Brown Ibis and a big wave of juvenile Flamingos, over 200 at KM20 and 67 at the park.

Raptors are still few but there are Montagu's and Marsh Harriers and the Sooty Falcons are more active these days especially round the park, KM 20 and Elifaz. A quick look at North Beach showed 40 odd White-cheeked Terns and White-eyed Gulls but a good southerly and that could change nicely.... till the weekend!

 

13.8.17




 

It's only the start of August and still we had some nice surprises at the Bird Sanctuary this week. The first surprise was an Egyptian Nightjar that was seen a number of times by the park staff in daylight.

This enigmatic bird is generally seen here early spring in the Yotvata fields and occasionally in the late autumn. Now that we know they are breeding in the Dead Sea area perhaps we have a bird from there or maybe they are breeding under our noses in the Arava?

 

One evening I went to look for the bird and another surprise floated across in front of my nose, in full sunshine...a Nubian Nightjar! I'm sure it is the same one that was here last year, where he's been since then we can only wonder. What is for sure is that we will be giving him plenty of space and quiet to help him feel at home.

We also had a young Rose-coloured Starling most of the week and two very early Icterine Warblers also turned up in the park.

 

The number of passerine migrants is still low, mainly Eastern Olivaceous and Reed Warblers, some Eastern Orphean Warblers plus the occasional Lesser Gray and Masked Shrikes. Lots of regular waders can be found at all the salt ponds with some groups now in the hundreds, more White-winged Terns coming through and the first Garganey arriving.

Yotvata was very quiet during the weekend with just a few Blue-cheeked bee-eaters but the fields are in good condition to attract migrants when they arrive.

North Beach is very quiet, 3 Bridled Terns were hanging around at the start of the week, plenty of White-cheeked Terns and little else. I am off to Portugal this week so hopefully nothing will happen while I'm gone...but I wouldn't count on it! Have a great week!

 

5.8.17

 



 

It takes a little longer for autumn migrants to reach us here in the south of the country but we are back in business with all our birding sites sporting good numbers of migrants.

At the bird sanctuary we are seeing good numbers of Eastern Olivaceous Warblers, Reed Warblers, a single Upchers Warbler and a Whitethroat alongside many waders and groups of White Storks swirling lazily in the breeze.

Yotvata fields are still fairly empty but there was a group of Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters there and the sewage pond was bouncing with waders including 2 Temminck’s Stints, 5 Ferruginous Ducks and a Lesser Grey Shrike. Samar sewage also had plenty of waders but the Elifaz reservoir was empty except for a group of Bar-tailed Larks and a Hoopoe Lark hunting bugs on the southern edge. There were also Hooded and White-Crowned Wheatears there along with another lesser Grey Shrike.

 

The numbers at Km20 vary daily with the waves of migrants, 7 Temminck’s Stints today and the first Black-tailed Godwit yesterday plus an evening visit from a Sooty Falcon. North Beach has been very slow except for Tuesday when Re'a Shaish arrived bringing with him a cooler southerly breeze. We saw 12 Skuas that evening including two Long-tailed Skuas plus good numbers of White-cheeked Terns and a lone Lesser Crested Tern.

It may still be hot but it is worth a few hours of birding! Have a good week!

 

 

29.7.17



 

If there is one good thing you can say about July here it's that it is virtually over....too hot, too humid and too few birds. And despite that we had a pretty good start to the week.

Monday I picked up Nissim for a late afternoon trip around KM20 before heading down to North Beach. The number of migrant waders at KM20 is growing rapidly with nearly 100 Ruffs today, big group of Wood Sandpipers, Little Stints everywhere, a Curlew Sandpiper, salt and pepper coloured White-winged Terns and even a group of early Pelicans dropped in.

 

But it was North Beach with it's dwindling numbers and variety that brought some action. Arctic Terns are a fairly rare visitor to these shores so it was nice to have an adult bird in fresh summer dress come meandering across in front of us while we still had some sunshine. 20 minutes later after the sun had dipped below the mountains a juvenile bird arrived from the south bringing up the rear of a group of Common Terns. It was a little unusual looking but probably only because of an arrested moult. This weekend the Bridled Terns had returned and even a couple of Baltic Gulls arrived.

Shortly the passerine migration will begin in earnest...bring on autumn!

 

 

22.7.17



 

It was a very dull week in the hot south with very few new birds around. So this morning I headed out to Ovda to visit some of the desert birds I haven't seen a while. The spring rains have left Ovda with plenty of green patches and lots to eat for the local birds.

At 6am it was a wonderful 24C with a pleasant breeze. Small groups of Spotted Sandgrouse were moving around and a lone group of Crowned Sandgrouse landed nearby. Sand Partridge were everywhere and there were good numbers of White-crowned Wheatears, Mourning Wheatears but just a couple of Hooded Wheatears. Only small numbers of Trumpeter Finch and Scrub Warblers but Desert Larks are absolutely everywhere!

It was a pretty fun morning!

 

On the way back I passed through Yotvata - half the North Field is very green, loads of Namaqua Doves and will get plenty of migrants when they arrive. The south field is still dry but still has possibilities and the sewage ponds were sporting 5 White Storks, 5 Little Ringed Plovers and 5 Little Grebes plus the first Little Stints to return..... it will get interesting shortly.

 

At the park a Sooty Falcon finally put in an appearance but the rails were staying deep in the reeds. KM20 was very quiet as was North Beach, just a couple of Pomarine and Arctic Skuas heading north and 3 Bridled Terns this evening.

Not sure next week will be better but I hope so!

 

 

16.7.17



 

This week decidely unpleasant with a persistent strong northerly wind, dusty, hazy and a steady 43C. Fortunately by the weekend the skies had cleared, the wind was light with a nice southerly breeze Friday evening and the temperature dropped to a more manageable 42.9C.

 

Even the seabirds had disappeared off but by this evening quite a few had returned, 5 Bridled Terns turned up, 3 Lesser Crested Terns and good numbers of White-cheeked Terns. At the park the news was even better as I got a quick look at a young Rail who dropped in on the head of one of the adult birds.

There were also two Rails calling in the first hide while the adult birds were on the far side of the lake. Now we just need some pictures. The juvenile Little Bitterns are also out and about as are the Eastern Olivaceous Warblers and the Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters have also youngsters out around Kibbutz Grofit.

All in all a good year for birds that rarely breed here.

 

KM20 is back in business with a good number and variety of waders, terns etc. There was a Curlew, Gull-billed, Whiskered, Common, Little and Caspian Terns, Ruffs, Common Sandpipers, Green and Marsh Sandpipers, Redshanks and Greenshanks, Little Ringed, Ringed and Kentish Plovers and two very young Hoopoe Larks looking very shabby. One of them tried his hand as a wader running in the salt water and flew across the waterthen .

KM19 is also getting new birds with more Herons, Egrets, Spoonbills, Ducks and the Barn Swallows and Pale Crag Martins are back after a short absence.

Have a good week!

 

 

 

8.7.17



This week started hot, damn hot! People were melting in the street!

But interestingly at the same time we had 3 days of good southerly winds pushing seabirds up the gulf. We had Long-tailed, Pomarine and Arctic Skuas, at least 5 Bridled Terns, Lesser Crested Terns, big numbers of White-cheeked Terns and many Common Terns and White-eyed Gulls.

Hopes were high for Thursday's pelagic to the sea border between Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately the wind swung around to a very unhelpful westerly and some of the birds had disappeared back down the gulf. It was still a fun morning with a Cory's Shearwater coming in close, 5 Bridled Terns and a fantastic swordfish leaping out of the water on a number of occasions.

 

This morning I tried Taba and the new Katza beach beside the Dolphin reef. Nothing special but really good numbers of terns and gulls, both good alternatives to North Beach.

 

The bird park is very quiet but the young Namaqua Doves are out and about, some waders are arriving and the Rails are still strutting about.

KM20 is showing the first signs of autumn migration with some more Pintails and Shovellers arriving, more Redshanks and Greenshanks, some Green Sandpipers, 2 Common Sandpipers, a Little Ringed Plover and a strange Dunlin in perfect winter plumage!!?? He also looks (to me) a little longer billed and taller than the regular subspecies...?

 

K19 also has some new residents including 2 more Great Egrets, ducks and waders. While there are no great expectations for the coming week you just never know! Have a cool week!

 

 

2.7.17



 

With the temperatures heading into the mid-forties celsius this week I headed north for a Bat Mitzva on the northern border and a quick visit to Jerusalem.

Not too much happening in Eilat with the damn Water Rails fighting instead of breeding, maybe they're two males??

North Beach still has reasonable numbers of Common, White-cheeked and Little Terns with up to 3 Lesser Crested Terns occasionally gracing us with their presence.

The north of Israel wasn't much better, quick sea-watch off Rosh Hanikra turned up plenty of Common Terns and Yellow-legged Gulls but little else.

Around Hanita were some Red-rumped Swallows, regular breeders including Sardinian Warblers, Lesser Whitethroats, Great Tits etc while in Jerusalem there were some 200 Alpine Swifts migrating south over the Temple Mount, a few Spotted Flycatchers, a big group of Jackdaws doing a poor starling imitation and plenty of local birds.

 

This week a group of very optimistic birders will head out on the Eilat gulf and hopefully turn up a mega sea visitor… we certainly need something to brighten up this summer!

 

 

24.6.17



 

I'm beginning to enjoy my new sea watch spot on the pier just before the border crossing into Egypt.

There's a steady stream of birds which are mainly Common Terns, nice number of adult White-cheeked Terns, the odd Caspian Tern, a couple of Arctic Skuas and regular visits from Striated Herons.

I also had my first Cory's Shearwater for a couple years, a bird whose numbers appear to be dwindling in recent years.

 

There is also great fish action with big shoals of little fish attracting some big fish who come leaping out of the water at regular intervals. Also had a large sea-turtle come past for a look and a couple of dolphins streaming past in the distance.

Quite remarkably it was actually at North Beach early in the week where the Swinhoe’s Storm petrel turned up and came in as close as 200 metres from the beach.... and I think we're going to see more of them before the summer's over.

 

This evening at North Beach I had a Long-tailed Skua sitting out amongst the boats, plenty of regular Terns but also plenty of biting flies.

Elsewhere very little movement, some Greenshanks, Redshanks and a couple of Green Sandpipers moved in, still a few Sand Martins, House Martins and Barn Swallows moving in who knows which direction???

Next week is going to be hot but we'll still be hanging in there!

 
 

 

 

Shachar Shalev

 
 
 

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