Birds of December

Barak Granit 31/12/2017 00:00

Below is a summary of the most interesting sightings and highlights

for December 2017.



Greter White-fronted Geese Anser albifrons - 8 at southern Judean plain on the 1st; singletons at Beit-Shean and Hefer valley.


Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator - two, including a male, at Palmachim beach  1st-5th, one at Nachsholim on the 26th and two at Acre on the 30th-31st.




Red-breasted Merganser - Palmachim


Brown Booby Sula leucogaster - two at the Eilat’s North beach towards the month’s end and beyond


Crested Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus - a juv with missing primaries photographed near  Haifa University on the 9th. As this bird was seen again in January, it apparently wintering there, representing first wintering CHB record outside EIlat.




Crested Honey Buzzard - Haifa 


Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus - 3 at Hai-bar Carmel throughout the month; two at wadi Samach, Golan Heights on the 22nd and one at NIzzana on the 23rd


Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus -a male was photographed at Hamaapil on the 2nd. An extremely late lingering bird or perhaps an exceptional winterer?


Little Bustard Tetrax tetrax - one at Maoz Haim on the 15th


Demoisselle Crane Grus virgo - one at Meytzar fields, southern Golan Heigths on the 12th


Sociable Plover Vanellus gregarius - one at Yavne on the 15th. 13-14 at Urim and one at Zeelim are the the only birds recorded during this autumn-winter.




Sociable Plovers - Urim


Dotterel Charadrius morinellus - great record numbers from the northern Negev: 645 in two flocks at Hablanim-Seirim hills between Ber-Sheva and Ramat Hovav and 255 birds south to Hatzerim airfield (all on the 21st). Other smaller flocks: 42 at Zeelim - gevulot and 40 at southern Judean plains on the 22nd.




Dotterels - Hablanim Hills



Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla - singletons at Acre and Carmel Coast


Black Tern Chlidonias niger - one at Eilat on the 21st. Unusual winter record.


White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus - singletons in breeding plumage recorded throughout the month at the Hula, Beit-shen, Jizrael and Hefer valley, Urim, and EIlat where 4 birds recorded together.   


Black-bellied Sandgrouse Pterocles orientalis  - good numbers still at Gvulot, i.e 110 at the end of the month.


Spotted Sandgrouse Pterocles senegallus -200 birds at Urim on the 14th. A great and impressive comeback of this species to the NW Negev.


Stock Dove Columba oenas - about 90 at Gvulot-Urim


Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus - singletons at Hula valley and coastal plain.


European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus  - one at EIlat's bird park on the 14th. Rare in winter.


Pallid Swift Apus pallidus - 3 at Gvulot on the 28th


Lesser Short-toed Lark Calandrella rufescens - 21 at 'Hablanim hills' northern Negev


Hoopoe Lark Alaemon alaudipes - one at Hablanim hills, on the 28th. This record joins to another two records from the Northren Negev (Hatzerim area) during the past two winters. Perhaps dispersal from the nearby Halutza sands where it was found breeding recently?  


Asian Buff-bellied PIpit Anthus Rubescens japonicus - ones and twos at Beit-she’an valley, Hefer valley, Gaash, Tal-Shachar. Nafcha and other places.





Buff-bellied Pipit


Thrush Nightingale Luscinia luscinia - one at the JBO, Jerusalem on the 28th. An extraordinary mid winter record


Black Bush Robin Cercotrichas podobe - one caught, ringed and released at 'Hativat Hanegev monument' Beer Sheva on the 11th, remained to the 12th. Great record outside the Arava. One at Yotavata Hi-bar on the 30th


MIstle Thrush Turdus viscivorus - 18 near En-Zeitim junction upper Galilee on the 28nd


Mourning Wheatear Oenanthe lugens - one at Urim on the 27th. Unusual at this part of the Negev


Basalt Wheatear Oenanthe lugens warriae - three birds where still at Amram Pillars, Beer-Ura and Uvda valley  


Kurdish Wheatear Oenanthe xanthoprymna - one still at Kibutz Ketura.



Kurdish Wheatear - Ketura


Red-rumped Wheatear Oenanthe moesta - the three birds at Uvda valley and at Km 94 found during October-November were still there


Whinchat Saxicola rubetra  - one at Maayan Zvi fishponds on the 9th. A very late lingering migrant or an exceptional winterer.


Hume's Warbler Phylloscopus humei - three birds were found wintering within Tel-aviv: one at TLA University Zoological garden, one at Ironi Alef high-school and one at Ramat Hachayal.


Goldcrest Regulus regulus - 4 at Birya on the 11th


Wallcreeper Tichodroma muraria - one at the Arbel cliff from the 17th joined by a another bird from the 21st.




Wallcreeper - Arbel cliff


Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio - a male at wadi Samach, Golan Heights on the 29th


Daurian Shrike Lanius isabellinus - wintering birds recorded at Beit-She’an valley (2-3), Carmel coast and Hefer valley (2) and En-fescha (1)


'Steppe' Great Grey Shrike Lanius e.pallidirostris - One at Urim (east) on the 28th


Syrian Serin Serinus syriacus - 6 at Yotvata on the 10th and 15 at Nafcha on the 30th.


Rosy Starling Pastor roseus - one at Kfar Rupin on the 1st


Pine Bunting Emberiza leucocephalos - 2-3 at the lower cable pool, Mt. Hermon on the 22nd within a flock of 150-200 Yellowhammers


land marks