Tuesday 23 April 2013

Great Reed Warbler

Went to Ha Besor again this morning - the sounds of rustling reed beds and running water are all too rare around here so it is always a pleasure visit this wadi. No crakes this time but plenty of other migrants around. Still a lot of Collared Flycatchers going through (or staying and fattening up), Spotted Flycatchers, masses of Blackcaps, Lesser Whitethroats and Nightingales (both sorts). It seems to have been an excellent year for Collareds and Nightingales. The reed beds were very noisy with Clamorous Reed Warblers and a few Great Reed Warblers (below)

as well as the usual Reed and Cetti's (below).

It was starting to get hot and very insecty so I headed home via the HaBesor - Park Eshkol track. Great to see Roller back for the summer - wonderfully exotic birds,

and a few Woodchat Shrike.

Once again HaBesor did not disappoint.

Sunday 14 April 2013

Ha Besor migrants

Took a quick trip to Ha Besor this morning. Great to see so many migrants coming through. First off was an overflying Spotted Eagle,

followed by three Spotted Crakes in the channel below the damn - the water level is just right for them now (the light was terrible so it's back to record shots).

A Greenshank was feeding amongst the Black-winged Stilts and various sandpipers. Large numbers of Reed and Sedge Warblers around and lots of Nightingales calling from the undergrowth.

My first NW Negev White Pelican (still in winter plumage) flew past and my first Kingfisher of the year flicked along the edge of the reeds by the main reservoir. Very many Common Swifts and Hirundines (Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow and House Martin) overflew, dipping down to the water occasionally to drink. Three Marsh Harriers quartered the reed beds. 

Inspired by the thought of more Harriers I returned home via the Urim - Re'im road )one more Marsh and one Hen Harrier) but the high spot of the morning was a scattered flock of five Roller near Tel Gamma.


Thursday 11 April 2013

Nightingales: Luscinia luscinia and Luscinia megarhyncos

Productive nets this morning. Plenty of the usuals but it was good to have both Nightingale and Thrush Nightingale to compare.

First is Thrush Nightingale (Lus lus), faint eye ring, yellow gape line, big the difference in alula with this and Nightingale,

and Nightingale (Lus meg) much more distinct eye ring and less contrasty alula,

back view of both (Lus lus followed by Lus meg), note the contrast between darker grey back and rufous tail of the Thrush Nightingale

and the (comparative) lack of contrast between back and tail in this Nightingale.

Front view of both, (Lus lus followed by Lus meg) the pale throat of the Thrush Nightingale framed by a stripe,  breast mottled,

but the Nightingale is a much 'cleaner' bird with little mottling on the breast,

and the undertail coverts of both, dark tips to some undertail coverts  (Lus lus followed by Lus meg).


And for dessert, we had a fall of Wood Warblers, 3 in the nets so there are probably many more around! These are truly stunning little warblers and a real joy to see, both in and out of the hand.

Wednesday 10 April 2013


Black and white flycatchers can be tricky. This is a juv male Pied.

Not difficult if you see the white forehead patch and the very small white tick on the wing.

This makes a good summary photo - forehead patch, wing bar and tick showing nicely.

Female black-and-white flycatchers can be more than a bit confusing. Unless you have them in the hand that is. This lovely female Collared Flycatcher is quite distinctive. Large club shaped white wing patch extending to the edge of the wing.

Grey rump contrasting with black tail.

Easy to see when the birds are in the hand but field id when they are flitting about in trees is a different matter . . . .

Finished the day with a really nice Balkan Warbler.

Subalpine Warbler

Another exciting morning with the nets at Sde Boker. This morning's gem was a very pretty Subalpine Warbler. This is a fairly rare migrant and one I've never managed to see out of the hand. Today was no exception - I walked down one of the nets, turned around and there it was - caught. I must have passed it by by a matter of centimeters before it flew up in the net. I first thought this individual must be a female (eye-ring and orbital, contrast between nape and back) but conversations with Darren Burns and Elon Gur have cast doubt on this. The current consensus is that this is a 2 cy male. After this breeding season the bird will do a full moult into adult plumage.

Other migrants among the Lesser Whitethroats and Blackcaps included Wryneck, Nightingale, Orphean Warbler and Ortolan.

On the way back home I passed by Yeroham lake. This is a rather under-watched place but turns up rarities time and time again. I didn't find any this time but did see at least four Collared Flycatchers in the pine woods along with a lot of other migrants. I'm always pleased to see Yellow Wagtails and especially so when I come across a mixed flock. This one had about 20 individuals of Feldegg
 and Beema.

As usual, the sky was thick with swifts - mostly Pallid but a few Common too. Hirundines included Barn Swallow and Sand Martin. The reeds held many Reed and Sedge Warblers and a single Squacco Heron. There's a huge amount of interesting habitat at this site and I wish I'd had time to explore it more and at a better time of day.

Sunday 7 April 2013

Collared Flycatcher

This stunning Ficedula arrived in a tree in our garden yesterday. Very pleased that it stayed around for a photo-op.

It spent of its time doing this. But after a while it popped out and flew into a neighbouring tree.

Great garden tick!

I'm working in Sde Boker this week. It was really good to catch up with Darren Burns et al. who were busy ringing an impressive number of migrants - Lesser Whitethroats, Blackcaps, Nightingales, Barred Warbler, Wryneck and others. Migration is finally catching up . . . .

Monday 1 April 2013

Israel 10-17 March 2013 trip report

Israel 10 – 17 March 2013


After a gap in 2012 (which was a shame because it was a vintage year for spring migration in Israel) my brother Rod and I joined up once again for a week of intensive spring birding. 

Since this was our fourth campaign we decided to focus on a number of Northern species we had missed on our previous trips – Black Francolin, Pallas’s Gull, Little Swift, Long-Billed Pipit, Calandra Lark, Penduline Tit and Striolated Bunting (if you can call it a Northern species!).  This turned out to be a stroke of luck as passage in the South was poor while we were there. 

Two sorties into the Negev also gave us Desert Warbler and Lesser Short-Toed Lark, a long-awaited lifer for both of us.  Along the way we collected Black-Shouldered Kite and Hill Sparrow, also long sought after.

Overall it turned out to be our most enjoyable week yet largely due to the great variety of habitats we visited and the expert help of Lior Kislev (http://www.tatzpit.com), who guided us for a day.  Lior’s field skills are superb and the total of 192 species for the trip was our second best so far (beaten only in 2009 when we had 196 species in 10 days). 

Special mention must go the enormous swarms of locusts we encountered – once near Nizzana and once at HaBesor near Urim – although in fact everywhere we went in Israel we encountered locusts in varying quantities.  The swarm at HaBesor must have been a kilometre wide and many kilometres long as it flew over our heads in a seemingly un-ending stream – an awe-inspiring sight.

We hope that you enjoy reading this trip report and find it helpful when planning your trip.  Please note that some of the best places for birding in Israel are very close to the borders and we strongly recommend that you are accompanied by a local guide if you want to go there, particularly at times of heightened political or military tension.

Summary of Itinerary

Locations Visited
10 March
Meishar Plateau, Yeroham Reservoir, Ezuz
11 March
Nizzana, Ezuz, Urim
12 March
Maa’gen Michael, Kfar Ruppin
13 March
Kfar Ruppin, Golan Heights
14 March
Hula Valley, Mount Hermon
15 March
Jordan Delta, Golan Heights
16 March
Wadi Mishmar (Dead Sea), Mount Amasa
17 March
Mitzpe Ramon

Detailed Itinerary

Sunday 10 March

Where would you start a trip to Israel in March?  Larks were high on our target list so dawn on our first morning found us on a very cold but sunny Meishar Plateau in the high Negev.  Desert Warblers had been present for some months and as we worked along the roadside bushes in the early morning sun we were pleased to find that 4 or 5 were still there.

But what about the larks?  The Temminck’s Larks from earlier in the winter had obviously gone but in their place were at least 4 Bar-Tailed Larks close to the road and a few Short-Toed Larks flying around.  Other desert specialists were 85 Spotted Sandgrouse settling on the plain, a calling fly-over flock of Crowned Sandgrouse and many Desert Wheatears.  Migrants were represented by several Ruppell’s Warblers and Cretzschmar’s Buntings  

and our only Ortolan Bunting of the trip.  Fifteen Spanish Sparrows cavorted in some of the bushes near the road, no doubt ‘resting’ on their way north.

This was our southernmost stop and we started our journey back north with a stroll along Wadi Terashim on the northern rim of the plateau (west of the road).  Summer-plumaged male Rock Thrush 

and Trumpeter Finch both gave excellent views as the temperatures climbed.

Continuing north we stopped for a fantastic shwarma for lunch in Mitzpe Ramon and carried on to Yeroham Reservoir, picking up two roadside White-crowned Wheatears on the way.  The grassy areas around the boating lake held large numbers of Water Pipits and Cretzschmar’s Buntings and two Pallid Swifts flew through.  It was great to see that the main reservoir is once again full of water and when the reeds and trees have re-established themselves the full wildlife value will no doubt be restored.

In 2010 we had missed Hill Sparrows several times so we were really keen to see them.  Our final stop of the day was therefore at Ezuz near Nizzana, from where the recently-reported flock had sadly departed.  As the sun set we worked along the wadi running west from the old railway bridge towards the old cistern and encountered a male Pallid Harrier, two Black Redstarts, two Black-Eared Wheatears and a couple of Stonechats.  A flock of 7 Pin-Tailed Sandgrouse flew fast over our heads uttering their distinctive rook-like calls.

Monday 11 March

We didn’t have long to wait.  The next morning, following advice from Meidad Goren and Yoav Perlman, we tried Nahal Lavan north-east of Nizzana which following the winter rains in the area  was as verdant as a wadi can be, the air thick with birdsong and the calls of Quail.  The access is limited here due to it being a military area and initially we saw ‘only’ two more Pallid Harriers, our only Tawny Pipit of the trip, a family of Arabian Babblers, 20 Skylarks, lots of Cretzschmar’s Buntings and a female Desert Finch.

After a while though we heard the distant song of a Hill Sparrow and with a little patience and a lot of luck we had great views down to 5 meters,

along with a Spotted Flycatcher and a Siberian Stonechat.

Flushed with success we made a tour of the other main Nizzana sites and apart from three McQueen’s Bustards flying near Ezuz saw little of note.

In fact the rest of the day was rather quiet as we worked our way northwards, picking up just a White-Breasted Kingfisher

at Wadi Besor and Hen Harrier and Peregrine at Urim fields.  Even so we were pretty satisfied with our two days in the Negev as our thoughts turned to the North.

Tuesday 12 March

Our first port of call was Ma’agan Michael on the Mediterranean coast.  This time we decided to tour the fish ponds in the hire car, which was far better than on foot because the car acted as a mobile hide allowing close approach.  The highlight was a 1st summer Pallas’s Gull sitting on the mud in a drained fish pond,

along with many Black Storks, Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis,

Temminck’s Stints,

Armenian Gulls,

and Slender-Billed Gulls (this one with Black-headeds).

Then to the Beit Shean valley, which we approached via the scenic Mount Gilboa road where we caught a passage of Steppe Eagles, Short-Toed Eagles

and one Alpine Swift.  We were surprised to hear a Scops Owl calling amongst the pine trees during broad daylight.

Finally, to Kfar Ruppin which handsomely lived up to its reputation.  In the hour before sunset we checked out the fish ponds south of the kibbutz and saw 12 White Pelicans flying in,

250 Black Storks, an Osprey,

a Merlin, another 20 Pallas’s Gulls, more Temminck’s Stints, 3 Garganey

and our first White Storks.

Pelican, Spoonbills and Grey Herons.

Wednesday 13 March          

After a very comfortable night at the Birdwatching Centre, we rose at dawn and toured all the known sites in the area for Black Francolin without seeing or hearing a single one.

Undeterred, we then worked the adjacent arable fields which held good numbers of Water and Red-Throated Pipits, 2 Woodchat Shrikes, some late Starlings, two more Ospreys perched on irrigation booms, another Hen Harrier, hundreds of Black Storks, our first Red-Rumped Swallow and a Stone Curlew.  Back at the fish ponds we found Pygmy Cormorant, Moustached Warbler, Bluethroat, more Garganey, 50 Tufted Duck and the Pelicans had increased to 35.
We then headed up Route 98 onto the Golan Heights and in lovely sunny weather worked our way north stopping at various places en route.  In this way we picked up Great Crested Grebe, several Griffon and Egyptian Vultures, Linnet, Black Redstart and huge numbers of Short-Toed Eagles. 

By the time we had got to Tel Hazeka close by the Syrian border, the sunshine had given way to cool and misty weather conditions with a strong westerly wind and seeing birds became virtually impossible, so a Great Spotted Cuckoo singing near the entrance track was a bonus.

Thursday 14 March

This was our Hula Valley day and we repeated the pattern of our previous visit with one crucial difference.

The Hula Reserve was our first stop but because it does not open until 8 a.m. we checked out the complex of former fish ponds by the access road just outside the boundary.  No Bee-eaters this time but huge numbers of Clamorous Reed Warblers, 

Pygmy Cormorant, Black Francolin singing and two adult White-Tailed Eagles perched in a nearby tree (presumably part of the re-introduction scheme).

The reserve itself held surprisingly little apart from one dark-phase Booted Eagle,

a Spoonbill and some Common Cranes and an Alpine Swift flying around.

Next we went to the Hula Agamon re-flooded area just up the road.  The big difference from last time was our decision to hire an electric buggy to get around the reserve – worth every shekel!  First up was an adult (Greater) Spotted Eagle sitting on a bush by the access track.

Then we saw a couple of Marbled Ducks on the main lake, 

a good selection of waders and many flocks of Cranes flying north calling loudly.  Finally, we were delighted to find a pair of Black-Shouldered Kites perching in trees by the eastern extremity of the reserve.  

Not a lifer for either of us but great to see in Israel.  Hopefully they will become a widespread species in years to come.

We couldn’t resist an afternoon visit to Mount Hermon, looming temptingly to the north.  We had been warned that birding would be slow in March and indeed it was, but Blue Rockthrush

three Rock Buntings and a Serin were nice to see near Neve Atif.  As on our previous visit we followed the track from the road just east of Neve Atif as it winds up the hill above the village until it joins the road between Majdal Shams and the Mount Hermon ski lift.  A nuthatch-like call tantalised us but was not repeated.  This is a very beautiful walk whether birds are seen or not so it still felt like time well spent.

Back at Park HaYarden we fell asleep in our tents to the calls of Cranes as they flew north in the darkness and Tawny Owls hooting nearby.

Friday 15 March

This was our day of being guided by Lior.  We met at 6am at Ramot and immediately headed for an interesting area nearby known as the Jordan Delta, where the River Jordan empties into the Sea of Galilee.  Black Francolin calls abounded and we had great views of two males, one of which perched obligingly on a rock.  

We also found our first Turtle Dove, two singing Olivaceous Warblers, a male Dead Sea Sparrow at its nest and a record Desert Lark well north of its normal range.  The best birds in this area were two wintering Penduline Tits still occupying a thin strip of reeds around a sewage pond. 

The wintering Steppe Grey and Isabelline Shrikes had already left.

Then to Mount Susita, commanding fabulous views of the Sea of Galilee and occupied by the Romans, the remains of whose town are very visible on the top of the hill.  Vehicular entry past the barriers across the access road is now not possible without a high-wheelbase vehicle.

Our targets were Little Swift and Long-Billed Pipit but a hot north-westerly wind blasting the hill top did not help us.  Lower down there were many Cretzschmar’s Buntings and a Siberian Stonechat by the road 

and two Common Cuckoos were flying around singing in the bottom of the wadi, looking for Long-Billed Pipit nests.  A male Desert Wheatear was, again, well north of its usual range.  Is there a northward movement of desert species in Israel, perhaps in response to climate change?  After several slow passes along the road a Long-Billed Pipit finally flew up and perched conveniently on a rock by the roadside giving excellent views.

We next went in search of Little Swifts and Lesser Kestrels and Lior drove us to a spot near Meitsar close to where the borders of Israel, Jordan and Syria meet.  Overlooking the deep valley separating Israel from Jordan, we quickly spotted several of the former with some Alpine Swifts and one male of the latter.  This looks like an amazing place to watch raptors later in the spring.

We then drove down into the astonishingly green and leafy Wadi Meitsar, where we found Little Owl

many Woodchat Shrikes, Orphean Warblers and Cretzschmar’s Buntings singing (all breed there).  This is a very remote and beautiful area and would repay a visit at any time of year.

Back at Ramot we swapped Lior’s Jimny for our hire car and sped north up on to the Golan Heights, past our previous northernmost point at Tel Hazeka, to the Btecha Valley.  Lior took us to a spot very close to the Syrian border where Calandra Larks breed and we were treated to several birds flying, singing and perching giving great views.  

In flight they are more reminiscent of waders than larks!

We ended the day working the orchards and hills in the area.  Several mixed flocks of finches contained Bramblings (an Israeli tick for both of us) and Serins and almost the last bird was a migrating Imperial Eagle, a fitting end to a fantastic day. 

Thanks Lior!

Saturday 16 March

Our last full day was focused on the Dead Sea and nearby sites. 
We had decided to visit Wadi Mishmar in case a late Cyprus Warbler or Sinaii Rosefinch was still present (they weren’t) and so rose early to complete the walk-in from the car park to where the cliffs begin by dawn at 6 a.m.  The temperature at that point was 25 degrees but mercifully the day was cloudy so the three hours we spent ascending and then descending the wadi gave us some high-quality birding in comfortable conditions.

Almost the first bird was a Lesser-Spotted Eagle flying north, which neatly filled a gap on the trip-list although that is not where we would have expected one.  We then saw good numbers of many of the area’s resident specialities – Fan-Tailed Raven, 

Blackstart, Tristram’s Grackle, Sand Partridge, 

Scrub Warbler and Little Green Bee-eater.

Migrants included a Bluethroat, many Orphean Warblers and a couple of flocks of Cretzschmar’s Buntings.  And it was associating with the latter that we found two Striolated Buntings.  

The first was high up the Wadi and was very approachable, allowing good views as it fed on grass seeds.  The second was near the entrance and was much warier.

After this success we then toured our favourite sites in the area but saw little, except for another Dead Sea Sparrow at Neve Zohar.  The drive up to Arad provided a Mourning Wheatear by the road but the Arad-Massada road was quiet.
Our final stop was at Mount Amasa northwest of Arad, where the strong westerly had cooled to just 9 degrees.  We therefore didn’t stay long on top although a couple of Woodlarks were nice, the male in his song flight.  Lower down the slopes we found a nice male Spectacled Warbler and a late female Finsch’s Wheatear but the Hill Sparrows had not yet arrived (see 'Lesser Kestrels etc' post).

Sunday 17 March                                         

On our last half day we were keen to end on a high.  We headed down to Mitzpe Ramon and turned right onto Route 171 heading south west into the remote Negev.  Imagine our delight when we eventually decided to stop, walked out on to a gently sloping stony plain and quickly found a Lesser Short-Toed Lark singing its heart out in the crisp air over our heads (it was 6 degrees!), its slow wing-beats instantly confirming the id.

In fact there were at least two males holding territory in the area, which also contained several pairs of Black-Bellied Sandgrouse, many Stone Curlews and several singing Isabelline Wheatears.  Great desert birding and a fabulous end to the trip.

Systematic list

Egyptian Goose
Widespread in small numbers
Very common on fresh water bodies
10, Hula Agamon 14/3
Common on fresh water bodies
Very common on fresh water bodies
5, Kfar Ruppin 12-13/3
2, Hula Reserve 14/3
Marbled Duck
2, Hula Agamon 14/3
Tufted Duck
50, Kfar Ruppin 13/3
10, Yekutsa Reservoir, Golan Heights 15/4
Black Francolin
Hula Reserve 14/3; 2 Jordan Delta 15/3
Widespread and common
Sand Partridge
Common in Wadi Mishmar 16/4
Common in flat grassy habitats
Little Grebe
Very common on fresh water bodies
Great Crested Grebe
2, Bnei Israel Reservoir, Golan 13/3
White Pelican
Up to 35 Kfar Ruppin 12-13/3
Great Cormorant
Common at Ma’agan Michael 12/3
Pygmy Cormorant
Several, Kfar Ruppin 12-13/3
Grey Heron
Very common on fresh water bodies
Night Heron
Abundant at Kfar Ruppin 12-13/3
Little Egret
Common on fresh water bodies
Cattle Egret
Common on fresh water bodies
Great White Egret
Common on fresh water bodies
Glossy Ibis
Strong passage north Ma’agan Michael 12/3
White Stork
Small numbers flying N at many locations
Black Stork
Large numbers flying N at many locations
Small numbers on fresh water bodies
Griffon Vulture
Several, Golan Heights 13/3
Egyptian Vulture
2, Golan Heights 13/3
2, Kfar Ruppin 12-13/3

White-Tailed Eagle
2 adults Hula Reserve 14/3
Steppe Eagle
Widespread in small numbers
Imperial Eagle
1, Btecha Valley 15/3
Lesser-Spotted Eagle
1, Wadi Mishmar 16/3
Spotted Eagle
Adult, Hula Agamon 14/3
Booted Eagle
Dark adult Hula Reserve 14/3
Short-toed Eagle
Steppe Buzzard
Single birds seen most days
Long-Legged Buzzard
Widespread in small numbers
Black-Shouldered Kite
Pair Hula Reserve 14/3
Black Kite
Marsh Harrier
Widespread in small numbers
Hen Harrier
Widespread in small numbers
Pallid Harrier
2 adult males near Nizzana 10-11/3
1, Kfar Ruppin 13/3
Widespread in small numbers
Lesser Kestrel
Male near Meitsar 15/3
1, Urim fields 11/3
1, Kfar Ruppin 12/3
Common on fresh water bodies
Very common on fresh water bodies
Common Crane
Common on passage in North
McQueen’s Bustard
3, Ezuz 11/3
20, Hula Agamon 14/3
Stone Curlew
1,  Kfar Ruppin 12/3; several R171 17/3
Black-Winged Stilt
Common on fresh water bodies
Spur-Winged Plover
Common near fresh and saline water bodies
Ringed Plover
Common at Ma’agan Michael, Kfar Ruppin
Little Ringed Plover
2, Ma’agan Michael 12/3
Kentish Plover
10, Ma’agan Michael 12/3
Wood Sandpiper
10, Kfar Ruppin 13/3
Green Sandpiper
Common on fresh water bodies
Common Sandpiper
Widespread in small numbers
Marsh Sandpiper
15, Kfar Ruppin 13/3
Temminck’s Stint
Common at Ma’agan Michael, Kfar Ruppin
Little Stint
Common at Ma’agan Michael, Kfar Ruppin

Common on fresh water bodies
Spotted Redshank
1, Kehemin Sewage Pools 11/3
1, Ma'agan Michael 12/3
Black-Tailed Godwit
60 at Hula Agamon 14/3
Common on fresh water bodies
A few on fresh water bodies
Black-Headed Gull
Abundant on fresh water bodies
Slender-Billed Gull
Small numbers Ma’agan Michael 12/3
Armenian Gull
Common at Ma’agan Michael 12/3
Yellow-Legged Gull
Small numbers Ma’agan Michael 12/3
Pallas’s Gull
1, Ma’agan Michael, 20 Kfar Ruppin: 12/3
Sandwich Tern
1, N Ma’agan Michael 12/3
Spotted Sandgrouse
85, Meishar Plateau 10/3
Crowned Sandgrouse
Flight calls Meishar Plateau 10/3
Black-Bellied Sandgrouse
6, Route 171 17/3
Pin-Tailed Sandgrouse
7, Ezuz 10/3
Feral Pigeon
Collared Dove
Common by human habitation
Turtle Dove
1 Jordan Delta 15/3; 1 purring Nir Oz 17/3
Laughing Dove
Ring-necked Parakeet
Widespread in small numbers
Common Cuckoo
2,  Mount Susita 15/3
Great Spotted Cuckoo
1 singing, Tel Hazeka, Golan Heights 13/3
Scops Owl
1 singing, Ein Gedi 16/4
Little Owl
Pair, Wadi Meitsar 15/3
Barn Owl
Pair, Nir Oz 10/3
Tawny Owl
Heard Park HaYarden 14/3
Long-Eared Owl
Heard Nir Oz 16/3
Common Swift
Small passage at several locations
Pallid Swift
Small passage at several locations
Alpine Swift
Widespread in small numbers
Little Swift
Small numbers near Meitsar 15/3
Widespread and common
White-Throated Kingfisher
Widespread in small numbers
Pied Kingfisher
Several at Ma’agan Michael 12/3
Little Green Bee-eater
Small numbers in suitable habitat
Syrian Woodpecker
Widespread in suitable habitat
2, Mount Amasa 16/3
Small numbers in several locations
Crested Lark
Desert Lark
Small numbers in suitable habitat
Bar-Tailed Lark
4 ,Meishar Plateau 10/3
Short-Toed Lark
Small numbers in several locations
Lesser Short-Toed Lark
2, Route 171 17/3
Calandra Lark
3 pairs, Btecha Valley Golan Heights 15/3
Barn Swallow
Small numbers
Red-rumped Swallow
Small numbers
House Martin
Small numbers
Rock Martin
Common in suitable habitat
Red-Throated Pipit
Good numbers Kfar Ruppin 13/3
Meadow Pipit
Small numbers in several locations
Water Pipit
Good numbers Kfar Ruppin 13/3
Tawny Pipit
1, Wadi Lavan near Nizzana 11/2
Long-Billed Pipit
1, Mount Susita 15/3
White Wagtail
Common in suitable habitat
Yellow Wagtail
1, Kemehin Sewage near Nizzana 11/3
1, near Neve Atif 14/3
1, Kfar Ruppin 13/3; 1, Wadi Mishmar 16/3
Black Redstart
Widespread in small numbers
Northern Wheatear
Widespread in small numbers
Isabelline Wheatear
Several, Route 171 17/3
Black-Eared Wheatear
Widespread in small numbers
Desert Wheatear
Common in suitable habitat
Mourning Wheatear
Two by roadsides in mountains/deserts
White-crowned Wheatear
Several, Wadi Mishmar 16/3
Finsch’s Wheatear
Female ,Mount Amasa 16/3
Common  in deserts and mountains
Widespread in small numbers
Siberian Stonechat
Wadi Lavan 11/3 and Mount Susita 15/3
Song Thrush
Widespread in small numbers in the North
Common in the North
Rock Thrush
Wadi Terashim near Meishar Plateau 10/3

Blue Rock Thrush
Widespread in small numbers
Scrub Warbler
Common in suitable habitat
Graceful Prinia
Common in suitable habitat
Very small numbers
Common on the Golan Heights
Lesser Whitethroat
Widespread and common
Orphean Warbler
Widespread in small numbers
Sardinian Warbler
Widespread in small numbers
Ruppell’s Warbler
Widespread in small numbers
Spectacled Warbler
Male, Mount Amasa 16/3
Desert Warbler
4-5, Meishar Plateau 10/3
Sedge Warbler
Heard Hula Valley 14/3
Reed Warbler
Common in suitable habitat
Clamorous Reed Warbler
Common in suitable habitat
Moustached Warbler
1, Kfar Ruppin fish ponds 12/3
Cettis Warbler
Common singing in suitable habitat
Olivaceous Warbler
2, Jordan Delta 15/3
Common in suitable habitat
Singing at Neve Atif
Spotted Flycatcher
1, Wadi Lavan near Nizzana 11/3
Great Tit
Common in the North
Penduline Tit
2, Jordan Delta 15/3
Palestine Sunbird
Widespread in small numbers
Southern Grey Shrike
Common in suitable habitat
Woodchat Shrike
Common in suitable habitat
Masked Shrike
Widespread in small numbers
Yellow-Vented Bulbul
Tristram’s Grackle
Common  in mountains
Mynah Bird
3, Yeroham Reservoir 11/3
Arabian Babbler
Family Wadi Lavan, near Nizzana 11/3
Fairly common in the North
Brown-necked Raven
Fairly common in the Negev and Dead Sea
Fan-tailed Raven
Common near Dead Sea 16/4
A few in the North seen from the car
Hooded Crow
Widespread and common
Several, Kfar Ruppin 13/3
House Sparrow
Spanish Sparrow
Widespread and common
Dead Sea Sparrow
1, Jordan Delta 15/3; 1 Neve Zohar 16/3
Hill Sparrow
3, Wadi Lavan, near Nizzana 11/3
Common in the North
A few with Chaffinches, Btecha Valley 15/3
Widespread and common
Widespread and common
Common on the Golan Heights
A few in Btecha Valley and Mount Hermon
Trumpeter Finch
Male,Wadi Terashim, Meishar Plateau 10/3
Desert Finch
Female, Wadi Lavan near Nizzana 11/3
Corn Bunting
Abundant almost everywhere
Rock Bunting
3, Mount Hermon 13/3
Ortolan Bunting
Female, Meishar Plateau 13/3
Cretzschmar’s Bunting
Widespread and common
Striolated Bunting
2, Wadi Mishmar 16/3

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...