Friday, 28 October 2016

Greater Spotted and Steppe Eagles

Three Moustached Warblers, Spotted Crake, Water Rails, Snipe, Bluethroats by the Jackday Colony this morning. As I drove off I saw a large eagle trying to find a thermal. Luckily the one it found was right above the track. Greater Spotted Eagle!

As it is eagle season now I took a quick drive the Urim pylons. Not much there yet except for this Steppe Eagle.

I also saw a large falcon on the pylon most favoured by last year's Saker. Perhaps it has returned?

Finally, I stopped off at Besor Reservior to see how it was doing. This Namaqua Dove flew across the track,

and while manoeuvring to get a better angle I saw five others! One on the floor made seven. Perhaps this is the happy result of a successful breeding season.

Here's hoping they become a permanent feature here.

Sunday, 23 October 2016


What an amazing morning's birding! That mystery snipe brought me back to the Jackdaw Colony after a friend said that she thought she saw a Great Snipe. Certainly, it behaves like a GS inlcuding flushing from under one's feet with audible wingbeats, no flight calls and going to ground very quickly. However, I would like some plumage details on this most frustrating bird. I reached the end of the stream having flushed the snipe once and, as usual, not relocated it. My attention was diverted by several Great Spotted Eagles

and this distinctive shape flying along the top of the wadi . . . . Bateleur!

No question of id with this bird.

This could be same bird as last year's long stayer. Or not. Whatever its provenance it was one of those extraordinary birding moments.

I found another Moustached Warbler in addition to this little beauty.

Incredible plumage!

Crakes and Rails remain in place. Bluethroats are becoming more numerous.

And the myriad Kingfishers show no signs of moving on.

Many Marsh Harriers around too.

Once again, this area has proved itself to be full of delightful surprises. THIS is what patch watching is all about!

Friday, 21 October 2016

Moustached Warbler

Moustached Warbler is definitely one of my favourite birds. I love the rich browns, delicate tans and striking head pattern. This is only the second one I've seen here on the Besor. The area is perfect for them and it is a bit of a mystery why I only saw the one at the old reservoir. Tricky little things to get a decent photo of though - always on the move and usually behind the reeds.

Otherwise, the Jackdaw Colony area still holds the Spotted Crake (possibly here for the winter?).

There are at least three Water Rails too.

Bluethroats have arrived.


What a wonderful pose!

And the Pallid Harrier put in a couple of appearances, powering along the cliff tops.

I'm more or less convinced that the juv harrier in the area is a Pallid despite the dark wing feather tips.

Cetti's Warbler added simply because it posed well in the morning sun.

Today's mystery bird was a flushed snipe. It flew off without calling and, instead of climbing high and circling (like a common snipe), it went to ground quickly. Unfortunately I wasn't able to relocate it.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Besor Reservoir update

Recovery! A few weeks ago a friend told me that the Besor clearance was normal and happened every two years. Having watched that patch for four years and having seen no clearance and having been appalled at the total devegetation I was a bit sceptical about its recovery. It's good to be proved wrong! The last time I saw this it was a green puddle. Ok, its not exactly huge now but it is slowly expanding. The reeds won't take long to recover and I suspect this site will be amazing after the winter rains.

Water level almost above leg height for this Great White Egret.

Two of the three Spoonbills feeding there.

Other water birds were Snipe, Little Egrets, Moorhens, Coots, Kingfisher. A Cetti's Warbler or two also hopping around. Not sure if the Swamphens will return to breed next spring but I'll certainly be watching for them.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Besor updates

A nice birdy morning. Most of them  flew by (here's one of the kibbutz pair)

a stunning male Pallid Harrier that only allowed distant views.

This one back again - I think it's the same bird as last week but now I'm confused. The underwing with all those black feather tips says Montagu's but the boa around the neck says Pallid. And, to be honest, the wing looks a little broad for Montagu's.

Short-toed Eagle,

There were two Spotted Crakes along the stream but were as wary as this week's new duck (Pintail, female) which flew off at first sight of me.

Whinchats have arrived,

and a new tick for the kibbutz - Blue Rock-thrush. Taken against the light, into shadow and through two fences so no apologies for the quality. Quality bird though...