Down from Eilat

Barak Granit 19/03/2015 00:00

Down from Eilat


Just a diary of the last Two days. Got out from Tel-Aviv at 13:00 and drove directly 160 km south to my first stop at Wadi Zin where it crosses road 40, south of Nafcha. Was a good spot. The wadi was very green and there was quite birdy with some 15 Isabelline Wheatears, a Woodchat Shrike, a Wryneck, few Chiffchaffs but above all a cracking beautiful male Subalpine Warbler that have been hanging around there for a while now. The bird appeared from nowhere and simply landed in front of me, tamed and all exposed. Nice Start for my own Eilat-Bird-Festival.





Time was short so I continued towards the Meishar where I met Dan Alon, and we birded along for a while. Before I came Dan had a group of 20 Bimaculated Larks together with hundreds of Short-toads and a male Pallid Harrier. It took us ages to relocate the Bimacs (But when I did there were about 30 of them) but there was a very nice group of 50 Spotted Sandgrouses that were feeding just a 100 meters away. The place was packed with Short-toads, perhaps 500 of them but there were very few others, perhaps due to the late hour, but still I managed to find 1 male Desert Wheatear and quite a few Tawny Pipits and some Trumpeter Finches.


Then, met my friend Amir-ben Dov and Together we drove to Yotvata to look for Egyptian Nightjars. We arrived at Dusk and quickly had two birds which gave wonderful views but didn't cooperate well with our photography intentions. Well – still a happy end to a happy day. At Hotel Agamim, Eilat we set to dinner with Dan and Hadoram which told us his good night stories from the Southern Oceans and from Eilat during the 80's and I felt I have no counter story that match so I just kept quiet.


Today – a different day. Woke up and started my morning at Holland Park with Dan. Apparently the best place around as I figured in the end of the day. The place was packed: We had 3 Hawfinches - a very good bird for Eilat in any other year, this year however, obviously there are few around. Penduline Tit that was perching on Acacia tree was another unusual sight to those who are not familiar with Penduline Tits behavior in the Desert. There were a hell lots of Chiffchaffs, good numbers of Lesser Whitethroats, few Orphean Warblers, About 12 Ruppell's Warblers, with some sights of 3-5 in a bush (the right bush…), some Bonelli's Warblers, a Quail, a Hoopoe, one Wryneck, and some active migration of White Wagtails, Short-toed Larks, and all 4 and half swift species of Israel including mainly Common, few Alpine, 1 Pallid, 2 Little - which are not so common here, and one pekinensis Common Swift.




I continued alone a bit when a sudden movement in one of the Salvadora Bush turned up to be a Black Bush Robin! What a great bird and a good start for me rocking Eilat. Later I heard of course that it was found about a week ago but not hasn't been seen since. Anyway - the bird just came really close when I set on the ground peacefully. I called Dan of course and we even heard it singing.

Later, when we bird-on a bit more, another movement became a female Subalpine Warbler. Yet, another known individual. Still life was good there.

it is not the end yet. I continued to the mountains to watch some migration which apparently was great. There were many thousands of Steppe Buzzards moving through with some tens of Steppe Eagles among of all ages which was great to see, but above all the Black Storks took the show when about 2000 passed through in groups of 80-600 each. A flock after another, never ending. On the way to the late Breakfast I did stop with Amir at Canada Park (we were still at Eilat…) and got another bird that was found yesterday: a female Semi-collared Flycatcher.




The afternoon was slower. I did k.20 saltpans and I have nothing really interesting to tell about. All the usual birds were there (Flamingos, Slender-billed Gulls) and some ducks. Still there was a flock of 60 Grey Herons and some Marsh Sandpipers. I met Itai Shani and we decided to search for the Cyprus Pied Wheatear that was found yesterday near-by but we fail to find it (although it was there). Later we checked a potato field which held 3 Eastern Stonechats, one more Little Swifts and above all a juv Imperial Eagle that was perching on one of the trees. Bloody hell.


We ended the day at the North Beach. What a place. You see usually nothing but tons of memories are waiting for you just to arrive and pick them up. Still, there was some reality as well. About 15 White-eyed Gulls, Some Baltics, many unidentified 1st year gulls, A Western Reef Heron, 2 Pied Kingfishers and a flock of 15 Spoonbills that came in-land. At the distance I noticed another flock of Black Storks (80) migrating above the city. Who knows how many went through today.

Waiting to see what tomorrow brings



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