hard-morning night at Eilat

Barak Granit 20/03/2015 00:00

I've decided to limit my nomads and to declare k.20 as my northern border of the day. Basically I spent most of my day, morning and afternoon, exploring the area between km 19 and km 20. Altogether it seemed already yesterday that the birding is patchy in the southern Arava this spring (so far) with few good places such as Holland Park while most of the other places requires hard labor in order to bring back the goods.


Anyway, started early morning checking the bushy area west of the k20, saltpans. Good numbers of Red-rumped Swallows were on the move, but only few passerines including few Cretzschmar's Buntings. Two 'new' species for the trip were Masked Shrike and Eastern Olivaceous Warbler. There was on-going flow of Spanish Sparrows, Hundreds of them and quite a few Sparrowhawks around trying to get their breakfast.

Walking back to the Car I was happy to see that the Cyprus Pied Wheatear was finally waited for me, standing on a poll just by the car. It was nice female, small and dirty as they are, giving special look among the wheatears. It was also the first bird out of many to see the coming: all of a sudden it dived into the nearest bush and only then all the Spanish Sparrows were panicking while the Sparrowhawk tried its luck with a Tree Pipit. I don’t know the result of the chase.





Later I went to check an onion field where I heard that Hadoram saw Oriental Skylark few days ago. I easily found the bird and the area was even quite birdy with some Tree, Meadow, Water and Red-throated Pipits, few Sedge Warblers, Bluethroats, quite a few Quails, Bonelli's Warbler and such. Raptors migration started to be notable with many Steppe Buzzards, few Steppe Eagles and 1 Short-toed Eagle. I continued exploring the tomato fields to the north where I had a breeding plumage Caspian Stonechat and also the much rarer 'variegata' Stonechat (what was known as 'armenicus'), cracking breeding plumage male as well. At same field I flashed another good bird - Lesser Short-toed Lark so the morning started to look not that bad after all.


Later, I checked the small acacia forest located north-west to km 19 but it was completely waste of time (well, 2 Dorcas Gazelles). Km 19 sewage was birdy but the wind was already very strong so it was not that fun. Yet, a flock of 100 or so Dead Sea Sparrows were nice encounter, and I also had Great White Egret, Purple Heron, many Squaccos, some ducks, a Caspian Tern, an Osprey and probably the same Imperial Eagle which I saw Yesterday.





Walking along the eastern canal I flushed what seemed to be an adult Goshawk which is great bird here but I'm only 99% sure as it flew away from me. It had the right bluish color above with somewhat darker wingtips, it was large with black head and round tail and had the right wing-bits for that species. All in all it looked good. Before heading to my late breakfast I managed to add a Bimaculated Lark to the morning list in the fields that were once carry the name "the Northern Fields". Well - quite a good morning.


The thing I was dead tired so I went out again at nearly 16:00 pm. I went back to Km 20 saltpans. New birds were a Red-necked Phalarope, an Avocet and 3 Egyptian Goose that apparently are resident here for a while now. A flock of 85 Common Cranes came out of nowhere but didn't land in the end. To end the day I went to see the Lichtenstein's Sandgrouses coming to drink at km 19. There were 8 of them but not less impressive was a roost of many Swallows and about 6 Marsh Harriers.


Tomorrow, after some morning birding I will start heading north and probably will stop at Yotvata on my way to Tel-aviv.


Good night (well - morning to the readers)



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