Saturday 24 March 2012

Mt Amasa

A great day on Mt Amasa, near Arad. I arrived around noon and wasn't really expecting to see much - in terms of species numbers I achieved that - but I also managed to finally see Long Billed Pipit. It's been high up on my 'most wanted' list for a long time. On the way up the flower-covered hill slope I saw a male Rockthrush in all it's finery.

And right at the very top was a Blue Rockthrush. This one did not allow close approach.

Desert Larks were plentiful but very well camouflaged against the rocks.

A flock of Rock Sparrows was moving around the slopes.

Yoav Perlman ( recommended a place to see Long Billed Pipit and I arrived at the site to find two UK birders there who told me that I'd just missed one by a matter of seconds (!). While chatting we saw a couple of Finsch's Wheatears and then decided to split the hill slope between us to see if we could get any more views of the LBP. After only a few minutes we heard its distinctive call and an LBP flew across the valley and landed on the road crash barrier. Good views but terrible shots. Next time. . . .
Note however, the short legged stature, long bill, warm brown wash on underparts.

Compare with a Tawny Pipit . . .

Ok, but the differences are very distinct in the field.

Also heard a distant Cuckoo: Scrub Warbler, Rupells' Warbler and many Lesser Whitethroats also occupied the slopes. Disappointing not to see Lesser Kestrel here but given the rest I'm not complaining.

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