Tuesday 15 May 2012

Dribs and drabs

Spring is winding down into summer. Still good numbers of Garden Warblers going through Sde Boker together with a couple more Barreds, Nightingales and Golden Orioles. Eastern Oliveaceous and Blackcaps still plentiful.

I've been stopping off at Revivim sewage ponds on the way home. This place definitely has potential. Curlew Sandpiper (not rare but a bit unusual this far inland) well into its gorgeous red summer plumage, ditto the Little Stints on either side,

 Wood Sandpiper (below), Common Sandpiper, Grey Plover (one flew hard north), Ruff etc,

and a Temminck's Stint lurking in the background.

A single Red-throated Pipit flew in, then off,

So, dribs and drabs but still good.

Sunday 13 May 2012

Barred Warbler

Very windy today so few birds in Darren's nets at Sde Boker (Garden, Eastern Oliveaceous, Reed warblers, Blackcaps, Lesser Whitethroats, Ortolan). As we were taking them down he spotted a large warbler at one end. Barred Warbler - my first of the year and my first in Israel. 

What an eye!

Friday 11 May 2012

Devil's-flower Praying Mantis

Worked in the kibbutz gardens this morning so no birding but this stunning Devil's-flower Praying Mantis (Blepharopsis mendicadeserves to be shown off. I'm not sure if these are widespread here or not - when the camouflage is this good it's easy to be overlooked. You can make out a blue patch on the upper inside of its coxa. Not sure why it has these.

Wednesday 9 May 2012

Olive-tree Warbler

I went round the nets today at Sde Boker with Elon (JBO) and was taking a Garden Warbler out of a net when he called me over. So, forget all my 'probables' and 'possibles'. THIS is an Olive-tree Warbler . . .

Very strong bill, wing panel, white outers to the outer tail feathers. Fantastic! With thanks to the ringing team - Elon, Darren and Anton.

Another Rufous Bush-robin, very photogenic in the dappled shade.

Apropos of dappled shade, a Garden Warbler (one of many passing through today) setting the bar for being dappled.

This Pied Flycatcher was in exactly the same place as the earlier Collared and Semi-collareds I've seen just outside the lab (plenty of Spotteds around - now waiting for a Red-breasted to complete the series). This one is sporting a faint second wing bar indicating winter plumage. Seems a bit late for that but the brown primaries do suggest Pied rather than anything else.

And finally, a couple of Whiskered Terns were hawking over the sewage ponds at Revivim on the way home.

Monday 7 May 2012

Consolation prize

Today was very frustrating. I had to go to Beer Sheva yesterday instead of working at Sde Boker thus missing an Olive Tree Warbler and Golden Oriole in the nets. However, at lunchtime today I went for a quick walk around the pistachia grove and saw the/a GO. Also seen was a brief view of a large grey backed warbler. I got terrible views as it skulked in the bushes but I did see that a) it was big, b) it was grey backed and pale below, c) the tail appeared black apart from white sides to the outer tail feathers. Also, it wasn't an Orphean. So, probable Olive Tree Warbler but as I missed the wing panel, strong bill and supercilium I can't claim it. This would be a lifer for me so it was very frustrating to have lost the bird in the undergrowth.

Migration-wise, things are definitely slowing down but this fiesty Red-backed Shrike was a bonus. Meidad held it up for some portraits, much to the shrike's displeasure.

Blood (not much) was drawn.

Honour satisfied - looking very pleased with himself.

A Rufous Bush-Robin sporting a ring - not sure if it's one of Darren's. It was good to finally get some non-record shots of these great birds.

Wednesday 2 May 2012

Semi-collared Flycatcher (female)

Ok, so I've seen quite a few Semi-collareds this Spring but this female at Sde Boker is a very late individual and thus notable as a temporal rarity. The main waves of these should be long gone by now. I guess the large number of ticks on this bird have weakened it somewhat. Like most rarities it probably won't be joining the breeding population. . . .

Just before I arrived back home I saw this incredible flock of (mainly) Swallows feeding over the potato fields.

Tuesday 1 May 2012


A great way to start May. On the way home this afternoon I spotted a Roller in a roadside tree. They are fairly common here in the summer but still fantastic birds. It stayed close to the road until I got out of the car, when it flew off and kept a 150 m distance from me, hence the distance blur. This one was circling around so may be territorial. Hopefully.

A gorgeous Wood Warbler in the pistachia grove at Sde Boker - the Old World warbler's answer to New World warblers. 

NW India - 9th to 22nd February 2020 (Kosi River, Corbett NP, Haripur Dam, Pangot, Sattal, Chopta, Walterre)

If you look through the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent (Grimmett, Inskipp and Inskipp, 2011) you cannot help noticing the huge range of s...