Saturday 20 February 2016

Demoiselle Crane

My wife and I went north for the weekend. It wasn't a bird trip but the spectacle of the 25,000+ cranes at Agamon Hula is worth seeing. A Demoiselle Crane made an additional temptation for me and it had been seen for the past couple of days deep within the reserve. When we arrived I was told that two were now in the area - a juvenile and an adult! But, how to find a different crane in all the cranes . . . ?

The answer, for me, was taking the sunrise 'Safari Tour' (Scops Owl calling in the pre-dawn wait) and the sharp eyes of Noa and Anat who quickly spotted the juvenile.

A little while later I just managed to single out the adult in the throng....

A truly gorgeous bird.

The cranes didn't seem particularly bothered by this Jungle Cat
or this Golden Jackal.

The cranes are much more interested in their morning feed.

Otherwise, the lake held two small flocks of Ruddy Shelduck,
 White Storks,
 loads of Avocet
 and Glossy Ibis
as well as Spoonbills, Pelicans and a small group of Flamingos.

Apparently Black-winged Kites are the commonest raptor here now!

(young bird)
A couple of Greater Spotted Eagles and an Eastern Imperial Eagle added to the enjoyment.

At the Hula Lake reserve I heard several Black Francolin and Great Spotted Cuckoos singing but couldn't see them. The White Tailed Eagles were in their favourite trees

and a quick tour of the reserve turned up a few Black Storks, a cracking Marsh Sandpiper,

some great views of Glossy Ibis (very common but, like Starlings, endlessly variable depending on the light),

and dozens of Marsh Harriers around. 

For an ostensibly non-birding trip this was a truly memorable few hours in a beautiful part of the country.

Friday 5 February 2016

Rough-legged Buzzard and Bateleur

Went for an out-and-out twitch today - Israel's third ever Rough-legged Buzzard. It was more successful than I had hoped. The buzzard was visible straight away and provided fantastic views as it hunted over the hillside, People had seen the Bateleur (very long staying now) earlier in the morning and it reappeared over some distant woods - instantly identifiable silhouette and flight pattern - and hunted ever nearer to us, eventually passing very close by. A Great Spotted Eagle made a slow pass over us making three quality birds in about twenty minutes. A real pity that this quality is not reflected in the photos I took. Below, the best of a very shabby set.

The buzzard,

the Bateleur,

and the other eagle.

The Rough-legged Buzzard attracted a lot of birders from all over the country and it was great to meet up with friends from north and south.

On the way home, near Re'im, a Black-shouldered Kite flew across the road - they are almost common now!

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...