My brother Rod has just visited from the UK. We had two days in the Negev before heading for the North for four days With a final day around the Dead Sea we notched up 166 species. It was a fantastic week with extraordinary landscpae contrasts - hyper arid desert to the lush green slopes of the Golan. A complete bird trip report is being prepared but here are a few photographic highlights . . . .
One of two Striolated Buntings we saw in Wadi Mishmar. This one didn't live up to its reputation as a shy and difficult-to-see species. It was feeding on grass seed about 10 m from us.
And its cousin - the Rock Bunting. Seen in a tree, in early evening light, at Neve Ativ in the North.
Lior Kislev (www.tatzpit.com) guided us for a day in the Golan - a truly memorable day with Lior's awesome expertise and good humour. Stunning landscape as a backdrop to one of the best day's birding I've had.
Black Francolin - beautiful bird.
One of a pair of Little Owls outside their nest by the roadside.
Calandra lark was on our target list and Lior knows a great spot for them. We had superb views of them singing and displaying.
Siberian Stonechat on Mt. Susita.
And, of course, Long-billed Pipit. Again, at Mt. Susita, this one flew up from the roadside and settled on a rock nearby.
Common migrants but always great to see. Red-rumped Swallow,
and the ever-photogenic Bluethroat.
One of the best birds of the Negev part of the trip was Hill Sparrow. Meidad Goren and Yoav Perlman (http://nubijar.blogspot.co.uk) suggested Nahal Lavan near Nizzana as a likely place to see this nomad. We had reasonable views of one individual before almost walking over this one. I literally had to take a step backwards to be able to focus on this one.
Quite a few Rupell's Warblers around too.
No trip to Nizzana and Ezuz is complete with seeing MacQueen's Bustard - we had three flying around.
Raptors - we did well with 22 species. Short-toed Eagles were almost the commonest raptor. They seemed to be wheeling around and/or displaying whenever we looked up.
Not so the Booted Eagle - only one of these (Hula).
Raptor of the trip was Black-winged Kite at Agamon Hula. We had a pair here. Gorgeous birds.
Detailed trip report coming . . . !