Friday 31 October 2014

Eastern Imperial and Greater Spotted Eagles

The eagles are back. Winter is a great time to be in the NW Negev - the Urim fields are only a few km away and they hold loads of interesting birds in winter. Raptors are the key draw but there are Red-throated Pipits and Skylarks by the flock with other interesting stuff intermingling.

I didn't have to spend long looking for eagles - this juvenile Eastern Imperial Eagle was sitting not too distant from the road.
 Hooded Crow for scale.

Only a distant Peregrine on the pylons but November is when things start to pick up, raptor-wise, and I'm looking forward to spending some quality time here.

Red-throated Pipits by the dozen and many lark flocks.

I was a bit short of time so had to press on but I intend to study the passerine flocks in much greater detail - hopefully turning up Calandra Lark and an interesting pipit or two.

Driving across the ford near Tze'elim I saw this Great Egret calmly standing in the reeds about 10 m away.

Slammed on the brakes to sit and watch this immature Greater Spotted Eagle, once again really close, only 50 m from the car. You won't get a better view of this bird unless it's in the hand.

Hooded Crow for scale - they seem to enjoy sitting around with eagles.

(different colours on the two photos above - different setting on the camera)

The recent rains have raised the water level at the Besor Reservoir with a consequent increase in duck numbers (mostly Mallard). Two Purple Swamphens added a splash of colour to the Coots and Moorhens. Still many European and White-breasted Kingfishers around.

The rain started in earnest so I headed back to the car, seeing this latish Yellow Wagtail on the way.

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