Saturday 15 March 2014

Little Crakes

Ha Besor Reservoir is full of water and the first surprise of the day was this distant Slender-billed Gull. I don't see many gulls in this area of the Negev. This is the first one actually.

The best part of the day though was an influx of Little Crakes. Instead of their usual solitary, skulking behaviour they were out in the open and feeding within two metres of me. From where I was sitting I counted four on my left and four on my right. I've never seen so many together before or had such fantastic views.

Moving just a bit around the reservoir another three came into view. One scuttled off immediately but the other two remained out in the open. The one on the right made my heart beat a bit faster - the short primary projection made me think 'Baillon's'. When it moved round to more favourable light I could see the red base of the bill - another Little, albeit an odd one.

Lots of Squacco Herons around too, as well as two Great Spotted Cuckoos (heard one song, saw one individual), Sedge Warblers have arrived together with a large movement of Lesser Whitethroats.

Saturday 1 March 2014

Winter to Spring

Spent the weekend in Arad. Had a walk down my favourite wadi and found this wheatear among the usual Northern, Mourning and Isabelline. Not an easy ID for me but am happy with Pied, especially as I matched its calls with those of Pied - however, I'm open to suggestions.

Also delighted to find this early Balkan Warbler. First of the year for me. The sunlight highlighted its wings perfectly.

Another first of the year - Masked Shrike. In March they are really common but in February not at all. 16 hours separation makes this notable . . . .

A very early start this morning (1st March) as I wanted to visit Wadi Mishmar to catch up with Cyprus Warbler. First up was this obliging Spectacled Warbler.

A slow walk up the wadi was rewarded with lots of Cyprus Warblers calling from the bushes. Eventually this one put on a show for me. This is a lifer for me so I was very pleased.

I noticed some grasses had already gone to seed (poor winter rains) and, unsurprisingly, a small flock of Striolated Buntings was taking advantage.

A small patch of water in Lot Reservoir held a couple of Ferruginous Duck. The reeds and tamarisk were full of Graceful Prinia and Clamourous Reed Warblers. A couple of Dead Sea Sparrows performing well near Neot Hakikar but unfortunately my camera battery had failed by then so no photos . . .

So good to start seeing the spring birds again!

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...