Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Marsh Warbler

A lot of stuff cleared out last night and the Sde Boker nets were quiet this morning. However, in migration season here the pot is never empty and we ringed this cracking Marsh Warbler. This individual has quite a greenish hue to its back. I have to admit to resorting to biometrics to separate most Marsh and Reed but this one was immediately obvious.

The first Wryneck of the season appeared too. This one really put on a neck bending show for us. Lovely birds - I never get bored of them.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Besor Reservoir again

It's a great time of year to be playing around with a camera. The photos below have been cropped where necessary and some of them have been through some post processing. Went back to the Besor Reservoir this morning - still plenty of Shrikes around.

Juvenile Red-backed,


A very pin headed looking Squacco Heron,

side view, that's better.

Several Great Reed Warblers around,

and the Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters are still around. Adult and juvenile here,

with others frustratingly back lit.

This Lesser Grey Shrike was taken at 1200mm optical zoom with 2x digital zoom on top. Not a great photo but the moment was good.

Lots of Isabelline Wheatears around now too.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Blue Cheeked Bee-eaters

What with one thing and another I haven't had much opportunity to do much birding recently. Migration is upon us now and despite the heat and other issues I had to visit Besor Reservoir to see what was going on. Yesterday and today I managed some fantastic views of a flock of Blue Cheeked Bee-eaters.

This is one of the many. Really not sure how many there were but 10+ is a reasonable estimate.

The exciting thing is that I don't know of any records of this species in the NW Negev. I'd be delighted to know if any exist.....

Other migrants coming through this immediate area are Purple, Night and Grey Herons, Little Egrets, Little Ringed Plovers, Dunlin, Green and Common Sandpipers, Little Stints, Black-winged Stilts, Glossy Ibis, Kingfishers galore, Sand Martin, Swallow, Yellow Wagtails, Lesser Grey and Red Backed Shrikes and the start of the Buzzards. Residents are still around.

I'm using a new camera to record some of the birds I see. I'm now using a Canon SX50 and despite the unpleasant electronic viewfinder I'm very happy with the results so far. Most of the photos below are handheld at a previously unimaginable 50x optical zoom (equivalent 1200mm).

On Route 222 I found this very confiding juvenile Hobby (50x zoom)

200x (50x optical, 2x digital)

Juvenile Red Backed Shrike,

Juvenile Lesser Grey Shrike,

and in the nets at Sde Boker, a Savi's Warbler,

and adult male Red backed Shrike

Migration is full on and it's great to be out in the field again.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

River Warbler and Olive Tree Warbler

The drought finished this week, both literally and figuratively. A lot of very unseasonable rain last night did wonders for the Sde Boqer nets (opened courtesy of Darren Burns). Nine warbler species today - Barred, Garden, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap, Reed, Oliveaceous, Willow, Olive Tree. Yesterday though, my personal drought of River Warblers finally broke with this lovely individual. I've missed this species's migration every year since being here so this was a special moment for me.

In the hand the classic Locustella whitish outer web on the outer primary is very obvious, as is the curved wing edge.

Love the undertail coverts.


Textbook mottling on throat extending to lower breast.

Two Olive Tree Warblers this morning. This is the less rain bedraggled of the two. Really nice birds and only three or four come through here in a season. Wing panel and bill are so distinctive!

Difficult to age and sex this Barred Warbler - 1st year male or adult female?

Ditto this Golden Oriole.

This one is a bit easier.

Huge numbers of these Rufous Bush Robins in the south and it's good to see them here.

All photos taken with my mobile phone.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Citrine Wagtail

Checked the sewage ponds while taking our dog out for a morning walk and was absolutely delighted to find one of my favourite birds feeding by the less noxious of the two pools. Citrine Wagtail! A stunning male of the citreola race (black collar extending over wing bend and some black feathering in the crown) and a superb patch tick!

Amazing how different it looks in slightly different light.

Short-toed Eagle flew overhead, calling.

Two Black-winged Stilts on the same pool were also patch ticks for me.