Wednesday 4 September 2013

Besor Reservoir - Red Necked Phalarope

After the summer hiatus bird things are picking up (for me). First note goes to Darren Burns and his nets at Sde Boker. I joined him in the last week of August when migration was starting to pick up. Many Willow Warblers, Orphean and Olivaceous Warblers, Lesser Whitethroats, Whitethroats (not so many), Blackcaps, singles of Marsh, Savi's and Barred Warblers and the usual trio of Shrikes among the migrants. A great surprise was a juv male Collared Flycatcher. A rarity at this time and place - the first August ringing record for Sde Boker.

The following week the wave of Willow Warblers continued - many very bright young birds from S and SE Europe with lots of yellow on them and finely streaked breasts. Eran found a Common Rosefinch at the ringing site but it avoided the nets. Common Rosefinch - Israel tick for me.

So, finally dusting off my camera this morning I headed off to Besor Reservoir to the Crake place. No crakes but a couple of Water Rail were busy picking flies off the scum on the last of the water. Several Yellow Wagtails were joining in the frenzy. Proceeded round to my favourite spot (a small, reedy pool). A couple of Common Kingfishers flew off across the reed beds. Cetti's and Clamourous Reed Warblers were doing their usual noisy thing. Lots of Sedge Warblers hopping about too. Out of the shadows swam a phalarope - Red Necked Phalarope! A lovely bird in any circumstances but great to see in a tiny (3 x 4 m) pool in the northern Negev. This juv-first winter individual was really confiding - swam within 10 m of me frantically eating the abundant flies. Superb! RNP is quite rare this of year (never common) and this is my first record in the northern Negev.

 very confiding . . . .

I never really though that Common Kingfishers were masters of disguise but this one was not so easy to pick out among the reeds.

Lesser-grey Shrikes are passing through now. They are easy enough to see on telephone wires but getting close enough for a photo is not easy.

A good start to the autumn!

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