Friday 26 June 2015

Besor patch update

Besor  continues to delight and surprise. This morning's surprise came in the form of seven or eight Pin-tailed Sandgrouse. Never seen sandgrouse flying over reed beds before. They were out of sight very quickly but later on I managed to catch a few seconds of a distant pair as they headed off to the fields.
Not exactly the best photo but a record shot for the patch. Pin-taileds used to be relatively common here in the NW Negev but have declined in recent years (see Barak Granit's article: ). I'm very pleased to have seen them here!

Even though its mid-summer there's still a lot of movement. The Purple Herons appear to have gone but this juvenile has arrived.

Lots of Black-winged Stilts about, a single Glossy Ibis, about 20 newly arrived Green Sandpipers, Night Herons seem to be increasing with 25-30 now, Squacco Herons by the dozen (many in full breeding plumage),

Little and Cattle Egrets,

a single Grey Heron, ditto Marsh Harrier and Buzzard, several Roller, Barn and Little Owls (very well camouflaged),

Bee-eaters all over the place,

and Clamorous Reed and Cetti's Warbler (below) newly fledged birds are feeding openly.

Back on the kibbutz, this Long-eared Owl chick is constantly calling for food.

Friday 12 June 2015

(The) Bateleur

This bird has understandably been very popular in the past couple of weeks - a mega rarity, a charismatic raptor and showing loyalty to a patch, i.e. my personal holy trinity for a successful twitch. Yariv and I tried for it last weekend but dipped. Today, Guy and I went for it and had amazing views as it hunted around the fields between Nachala and Gal'on. Around noon seems to be a good time to see it. Unlike the other eagles it moved from field to field pretty rapidly and often disappeared from view only to reappear a few minutes later. The heat haze and distance combined to make photography a bit of a challenge. Terrible photos of a fantastic bird.

The whole area is filled with raptors - above, the Bateleur with a Lesser Spotted Eagle but there were also large numbers of Short-toed Eagles (commonest raptor by far),

Marsh Harriers, Buzzards, Long-legged Buzzards etc. Eastern Imperial Eagle, Booted Eagle and Red-footed Falcon have also been seen in this area in the last couple of days - this site is phenomenal and the quantity and quality of raptor species seen this summer is unprecedented! A unique happening.

Closer to home the raptors are also noteworthy - the pair of Black-winged Kites is still around. Yesterday both were calling to each for a few minutes before flying off to hunt.

A pair of Honey Buzzards were at Besor Reservoir last weekend too. Not sure if they are the same birds from the week before or whether we have some potential summer visitors . . . 

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...