Saturday, 3 December 2016

Local updates

Some updates from the last fortnight. Probably the best sighting was a trio of Fieldfare in the experimental plantation to the south of the kibbutz. These are uncommon and sporadic winter visitors - some years I don't see them at all, the last time I saw them here (2014) there were four in the same patch of trees.



The young Eastern Imperial Eagle was replaced for a short time by this adult (with attendant Kestrel and Hooded Crow).


What looks like a juv/1w Ferruginous Duck on a local reservoir - would be exciting if they were breeding arond here!

A very late Redstart. This was taken on the 26th of November.

A couple of Golden Plover in the fields,

along with many Lapwing. It's a good year for them (in this area) with seemingly every field containing a few. No large flocks but, as said, many small groups spread around the fields.

The following few photos are of various Black-shouldered Kites in the area. Today I saw four. There's plenty of food for them here so there's no reason for them to move on.




 


Not terribly bothered by the harrassing Hoodie.




This one was hunting in the potato fields this morning. You can make out the prey's foot in the kite's claw.





Winter walks are so much more fun with our dog.



 
Finally, a Chameleon from the Besor wadi.







Friday, 18 November 2016

Eastern Imperial Eagle and Jack Snipe

A thoroughly enjoyable couple of hours this morning - started with a juvenile Eastern Imperial Eagle perched on a lamp post just outside the kibbutz.




And then to the Jackdaw colony. A Merlin was hunting along the wadi.

Finally tracked down the Jack Snipe! I've been trying to get a photo of this bird for weeks now. Beautifully cryptic birds.
A bit zoomed in.

Georgeous birds.


A few winter Wigeon have arrived.

And no winter would be complete without a Robin.


Another common but stunning bird.

No Moustached Warblers at all today and the Water Rails and Spotted Crake seem to have moved on too.

Finally, one of a couple of Long-legged Buzzards in the eatern kibbutz fields. Good to see them back.



Friday, 4 November 2016

Winter birds

A fantastic couple of hours birding this morning in the best of early winter weather. Cool breeze, bright sun and so many birds. Last week the first small flocks of Skylarks arrived but today the fields contained thousands. This area of the Negev really comes to life in winter. I started at Besor Resrvoir - the Purple Swamphens have returned!

Then onto Urim - huge flocks of Skylarks, and not too flighty at the moment,


Eastern Imperial Eagle,

and a fly-by Pallid Harrier (attracted by Skylarks, no doubt).
Marsh and Hen Harriers added to the raptor count.

The Jackdaw colony area held a brace each of Water Rail and Moustached Warblers, many Bluethroats, Stonechats, Greenshank, Common Snipe and a single Jack Snipe , Spotted Crake, Sparrowhawk, Kestrels and Greater Spotted Eagle.


The Kingfishers are in good form and showing well.


Many Red-throated Pipits in the fields - lovely birds.






Re'im Reservoir was quiet apart from a very obliging Little Owl


and Spanish Sparrows. These are really common in winter here and one tends to overlook them but the males really are very smart!




Water Pipits are around too.

Closer to home a distant Merlin flew across the fields - not sure if it is the same one that hunts close to Nir Oz or a new individual.