Friday 17 April 2009

Bird pics from Israel (March April) 2009

Here are a few more of the birds we saw in Israel this Spring. I'm not putting them in systematic order yet - probably will later.

This is En Boqeq - a magical wadi that runs into the Dead Sea. It's amazing to see fresh water and green papyrus surounded by some of the most arid environment in the World.

I used a Nikon D80 with a Sigma 150-500 OS lens. I'm sure it can cope with the light in Israel - all photographic defects are down to me and lack of experience combined with a surfeit of excitement. As always though, maximum zoom is no substitute for proximity.

Scops owl - roosting at Lotan. A contender for bird of the trip.

Collared pratincole - another contender - very pleased to find this (and 12 others).

Cream coloured courser - we saw many at Nizzana. As luck would have it they were not phased by our car (unfortunately though, despite the close range, I was shooting into the morning sun).

White stork - sometimes we saw many hundreds circling upwards on thermals

Booted eagle - magnificent raptor!

Steppe buzzard

Pallid harrier - several seen at Yotvata over 3 days

Montague's harrier - a truly superb male!

Marsh harrier - commonest harrier on the trip

Lesser kestrel hunting for insects on Mt Amasa, Arad. This was part of a flock of 9.

Pied kingfisher


Palestine sunbird
- widespread throughout Israel

Bee-eaters - some trees were full of them.

Red-throated pipit - numerous


Bluethroat - we saw mainly red spotted forms and only 1 or 2 white spotteds.

Siberian Stonechat - stunner!

Semi-collared flycatcher at Lotan

Yellow wagtail (beema race). The majority of yellow wagtails were blue- and black-headed races.

Blue rockthrush on Mt Amasa near Arad - the hillside was covered in flowers and herbs - a wonderful setting.

Sombre tit - strong contender for bird of the trip - we found a pair on the hill slopes near Neve Atif, near Mt Hermon. This is a poor record shot of a cracking little bird. The mist was descending and evening was drawing in - after 2 hrs of searching we were delighted to find these.

Masked shrike

Woodchat shrike


Cretzschmar's bunting

Trumpeter finches gathered in a shrub as a sand storm was starting,

and at Nizzana in the morning sun.

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