Saturday 4 February 2017

Little Swifts

The Ovda valley is alive with larks at the moment - Temminck's, Bar-tailed, Lesser Short-toed, Thick-billed as well Basalt Wheatear, Cream Coloured Coursers etc so why did Itay Herling and I forego this spectacle and head north to the Golan?

To try and find Red-fronted Serin is the answer. The day started well enough with Wrens and Chiffchaffs in a frosted wood near Ein Ziwan and then brief views of a Radde's Accentor at the Volcanic Park (Mt Avital). Things started to go downhill from there and we failed to find any Rf Serins despite an uncanny feeling that they were somewhere near. Plenty of Serins, Chaffinches, Greenfinches, Linnets, Lapwings and even wild boar.

The area was birdy enough but lacking the prize. On to Alonei Habashan to look for Yellowhammers and possibly Pine Bunting but it was a write-off. Great Tits, Blackbirds and Jays and that was it. We'd spent a fair bit of time seeing not much so we headed off for Mt Susita for Long-billed Pipit. The hillsides were completely pipit free but consolation prizes were a female Finsch's Wheatear, a small flock of Little Swift (very challenging to photograph),

this stunning Blue Rock Thrush,

and a surprise Whitethroat.
The breeding population of Whitethroat arrive in January/February while the migratory ones arrive much later.

Plenty of Crag Martins around. I wanted to capture the diagnostic dark underwing coverts and windows in the tail feathers.
Almost bingo - shame about the focus.

The Golan is a great place to bird in any/every season. This time we rolled snake eyes but next time . . . .

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