Sunday 23 December 2012

Oh, what a lark.

Belatedly, as it turned out, decided to try and see the Buff Bellied Pipits at Yotvata today. My route took me through the Meishar plateau and, as I was deciding on a place to stop to look for Asian Desert Warblers (see Yoav Perlman's recent blog ( one flew across the road in front of my car! A little bit of patience was rewarded with some fine views of this uber-cute warbler.

I got a bit distracted by some Black Bellied Sandgrouse calls - didn't manage to see them - but soon after I heard Crowned Sandgrouse calls. A flock of 50-60 flew past at some distance (electricity wires adding to a terrible 'no-data' pic). No chance of ID'ing them visually at that range but their calls are so distinctive!

Inspired by this, I moved up the road a wee bit and chose a greenish patch of the plateau to have breakfast and see what would turn up. Movement amongst the stones/shrubs caught my eye and lo and behold - four Temminck's Larks! I've always loved its congener, the Shore Lark and have long wanted to see Temminck's. They are superbly camouflaged  desert birds - I watched this small group feed for 20 minutes or so before they flew off.

Now you see me,

 Now you don't,

Oh what a lark, 

A single Trumepter Finch added some extra zest to the morning (I haven't seen TF for ages) before I moved off down to the Arava. Which was dull, very dull indeed. I stopped off at all the usual places en route but there was very little around. Yotvata was even duller with no BBP around that I could see. Decided to head back home and dropped by the Re'im sewage pools - a bit surprised to see this Greater Flamingo!
I've only ever see these in Eilat, mostly with much cleaner necks but I guess that goes with the territory.

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