It continues to be an amazing and unpredictable summer here. A male White-throated Robin turned up in Ben Gurion's Grave Park, Sde Boker (excellent find last Thursday by Harel Caduri). These stunning birds are rare here at the best of times, and particularly so in autumn and even more so outside the Arava. After an anxious weekend and a 20 minute search this morning I saw the bird hopping around in the shadows. It then disappeared completely only to reappear a few minutes later and start to feed out in the open. Irania gutturalis - what a bird!
This is a very early record for a migrant - possibly the earliest.
What a day! I'll do this in reverse chronology. Just got back from watching a local family of Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters! Eyal Shochat and Yaron Charka reported these a couple of days ago from a site a bit north of the Besor reservoir. Last year, at the end of August, I found a large flock of adult and juv BCBs at Besor and thought, because of the early date (for migration), that they may well have bred in the area. It seems as though they might have, and may have this year too . . . . If this is what it seems to be then Eyal and Yaron's sighting may be the first record of BCB breeding outside the Rift Valley. Juvenile below.
Juv. with adult male (I think)
Skipping back a beat - started the morning at Besor Reservoir with Phyllis W. As always, Besor provided great views of great birds. The best of the bunch was an Osprey flying over with a fish in its talons - an extremely unusual record for this area and time of year (1st record maybe?).
Also, best ever views of the local Purple Swamphens. Gorgeous birds - this one treated us with a long (for this bird) flight over the reeds.
Masses of Cetti's Warblers around,
Clamorous Reed Warblers, as expected (everything but the bird in focus),
Glossy Ibis by the treeful,
and the juv Purple Heron is still here.
Skipping back even further, last week my son and I had a few days camping in the north. This was not a birding trip but even so, who can fail to be impressed by an Eagle Owl (albeit a sleeping one)? Assuming that no one can, I took my son to a site where I'd seen them before - (thanks Lior (http://www.tatzpit.com/) and we quickly found this magnificent bird.
Har Adir, overlooking the northern border, was amazing - not so birdy but alive with reptiles and butterflies - only a handful identified. Very nice Lebanon Lizard,
Southern White Admiral,
Butterfly photography - challenging!
Looking north from Har Hermonit towards Har Hermon, stunning. . . .