Sunday 17 March 2013

Striolated Bunting etc

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 ( 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 ( 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 . . . !

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